As the daughter of Carla Zampatti, Bianca Spender has always had a passion for dressing women. Her city studio shows all the signs of a space dedicated to research and play. These two qualities give her garments the intelligence and beauty that saw her win the Woolmark Prize for womenswear in the Australian region last week.
As she speaks with us it becomes clear her interest in fashion design centres on modern femininity and the space between stillness and movement.
Broadsheet: How do you dress yourself in the morning?
Bianca Spender: Quickly, but carefully. I never want to look too corporate so I always wear a structured or tailored piece with something that is soft, flares or drapes. It is really important to me to always have that balance in an outfit. I am always thinking about how those pieces meet together and the effect that has.
BS: Besides your own label, what else do you like to wear?
Bianca Spender: More than anything I will mix it up with pieces from my vintage collection. For shoes, a good Celine or Jil Sander pair always. But I am pretty hopeless; I pretty much just have my stuff and a little smattering of vintage.
BS: Did you start to opt for more casual wear when you had kids?
Bianca Spender: My friends will laugh because no, I didn't. I am known for my impractical dressing. I run every morning to the train station in my heels or will be reading to my kids at day care in a white lace dress.
I dress to inspire myself every day, as opposed to wearing the most practical thing. I met a friend at the beach recently and I was wearing a woollen dress and an alpaca camel cape with boots, she said to me, “You are the only person who would ever wear an alpaca cape to the beach on a Saturday morning”. It was really warm though!
BS: Your new collection has a lot of life to it, in its structure. Can you tell us about that?
Bianca Spender: This whole collection is based on movement, inspired by exercises in ballet and birds in flight. It’s kind of about that “swoosh” moment, the way a dress brushes past your calves.
It is very feminine but I didn't want it to be too pretty, with the softness there always has to be strength, and so I tried to achieve that balance with each garment.
BS: Getting dressed for work is often a rushed and last-minute process, how do you keep it interesting?
Bianca Spender: Since having kids I have less time to get dressed in the morning and less time to experiment. So I do this thing now where I set myself a challenge week. I just did one where I had to wear jumpsuits in different ways for seven days straight. I thought I would get sick of it but I didn’t. I never want to stop experimenting with how I dress myself and I always want to put garments together in new ways, so I have these little personal dressing challenges a couple of times a year.