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A long, low keening rumble stretched the PA’s bass bins, just as the oval light above a tightly packed Carriageworks audience flickered into illumination over the sand-edged runway. Said Bianca Spender of this installation plus the collection that it complemented: “I really wanted to hold people. There was this idea of softness, thinking about how tensile our world is, and how much everyone is feeling pulled.”

Parlaying emotional instinct into material design makes for a trickily abstract translation, but after 30 collections Spender is an assured sculptor of form in fabric. Her circular drapes and half-floating jacket hems were pretty literal embraces of that urge to envelop. The earthily Aussie ochre tones at the outset were a grounded start to a dawn-to-dusk color narrative that took in sunrise yellows and strikingly-alive greens and blues before the inevitable fade to black. Pigment prints from collaborating artist Indivi Sutton added the odd moment of subtly intense Rothko-esque contrast.

Endearingly, you could sometimes detect how densely Spender’s creative calories had been poured into each piece via inadvertent imperfections: a light smudge of white from some last-minute rearrangement on the chest of a black twist-necked draped dress, or a loose label that waved up from behind the rope and eyelet waist of a bias-cut skirt.

There was a sub-dialogue between masculine and feminine, for sure nothing new subject-wise, but here explored interestingly in skirts with tailoring-template venting and deconstructed jacket-corsets. Spender’s gently billowing breaking folds and twisted symmetries allowed her to re-form womenswear paradigms in a manner that was both striking and unaffected: still water runs deep.