Bianca Spender reveals the future of feminist fashion

Words by Bianca O'Neill

Image Via getty Images/Stefan Gosatti

Embracing a woman’s duality.

With MBFWA in full swing, a vision is unfolding – a vision of the woman of the future.

The past year has seen #MeToo take down Hollywood heavyweights – while over in Cannes, Cate Blanchett leads 82 women down the red carpet in silent protest of gender disparity. It has been the year of the woman.

Fitting then, that last night’s MBFWA opening show saw Camilla and Marc deliver a collection intended to represent strong women braced for the future, set amongst a space-age moonscape at Fox Studios. The silhouettes were exactly as expected for such a metaphor; strong suiting dominated, shoulders were sharp, and accessories were oversized. I suppose the modern woman has to carry the burden of gender disparity somewhere – why not a giant tote that engulfs their entire being?

Meanwhile, this afternoon, Bianca Spender saw a different vision of feminist fashion emerge from the headlines of the past year.

“A hundred years ago, women used their dress as a political statement, abandoning the corset and introducing pants to prove their equality,” the show’s notes begin. It’s the age-old idea that, in order to be equal, women must mimic men’s dress.

Spender’s vision, however, is unabashedly feminine. The pant undergoes a transformation here; jumpsuits are spliced with easy, flowing silk draping, rendering a delicious metamorphosis of the cocktail dress. Suiting is unfussy and effortless, with military details acting as a subtle nod towards women marching forth into a daily battle.

The waist is not so much hidden as unnoticed; to Spender, it’s an unimportant detail that represents historical suffering, the male gaze, bodily obsessions.

“Here is my unbiased view… As clothing wraps, pulls and floats around the body, femininity is concealed and revealed. Liberation. At once sharp and structured, fluid and flowing, a quiet reinvention is taking place.”

The reinvention of what it means to be a feminist – and Bianca Spender’s feminist wardrobe is everything I want it to be.

Man, I feel like a woman.

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