Bianca Spender, Fashion Designer

Daughter of designer, Carla Zampatti, it’d be easy to assume Bianca Spender’s path to fashion was, mind the pun, seamless. But, despite designing in her mum’s studio from age 12, Bianca detoured an easy route to the family business. Opting first to earn a Bachelor of Commerce, study at the East Sydney Fashion Design School and travel to Italy and Paris to immerse herself in pattern making and design. Although eventually joining the Carla Zampatti brand, she branched out with her own namesake label – an aesthetic that’s modern, sophisticated and a little edgy. She’s independent, intriguing and has one enviously maintained mane. We sat down at the Bronte home she shares with husband, Sam and sons Dominic and Florian, to talk past hairstyle confessions, the beauty in simplicity, her obsession with glass jars and her compost heap… 


Bianca wears Bianca Spender jumpsuit. 

Bianca wears Bianca Spender jumpsuit. 

I did dreadlocks once, like mad mad dreadlocks…

…so I use [O&M] Know Knott sometimes. For hair is all natural and untreated, it’s virgin hair.  For me the biggest difference is the shampoo and conditioner - I’m the girl that would never go to a hotel and use their shampoo and conditioner. When you have an incredible conditioner, it just keeps the moisture in and the curls kind of hold and it looks beautiful. Otherwise, it’s a disaster. Sometimes it’s curls, sometimes it’s ‘I put my finger in the power point’. 

 
Bianca is a big beauty fan of Aesop; in small part due to the packaging, she admits. 

Bianca is a big beauty fan of Aesop; in small part due to the packaging, she admits. 

I’m a very simple girl…

...I find something that I love then I use it.  I use Aesop body wash, hand wash and hand moisturiser. I also use Cetaphil. It’s super basic I get allergies from perfumes [in beauty products]. I’m also a total MAC girl, MAC everything. 

 
Your never fully dressed without a lip... 

Your never fully dressed without a lip... 

I don’t do a sexy red lip…

I love a lip, but a dark, purple, plum. I’ve done pink, but not the really bright orange-y red shades. Because I don’t wear much jewellery, sometimes it just gives me that colour and definition, I think it’s just fun. I don’t have clothes on that are super sexy, [I prefer] kind of a minimal, organic [style] and I just find a strong lip gives a nice hot edge. I love Linda Rodin lipsticks - they’re beautiful. They’re very bright though. There’s kind of a thing with undone hair and lip that’s not, ‘I just came off the beach’.  

 
An old treasure. Bianca shows us the delicate vanity she inherited from her grandmother.

An old treasure. Bianca shows us the delicate vanity she inherited from her grandmother.

I have an old vanity from my grandmother...

… I’ve never met her, she died before I was born. She had two boys, so they weren’t excited about it. One day we were going through the cupboards when my dad moved out of his old house and I found it. I was like, this is so precious! I asked if anyone wanted it and my sister thought I was impractical and my dad said no, so yay, it’s mine. I haven't used it yet though, I'm too scared of breaking it. 

 
Beauty starts in the kitchen, after all. 

Beauty starts in the kitchen, after all. 

My mum was always about what you put in your body…

…what you drink, eating really well and I’ve always been a person who prefers simple ingredients. Just letting your skin breathe [from within]. My partner and I are also vegetarian, we’re very healthy.

 
Despite a hectic work life, taking time out to chill is a high priority for the designer. 

Despite a hectic work life, taking time out to chill is a high priority for the designer. 

I’d be really happy to have a bath every day… 

I’m a total bath head. I just can’t do anything without a bath! I love yoga, swimming and walking. I go to the beach or the pool, and the yoga class is two blocks away at 6:30 in the morning. I go to Sukha Mukha, it’s very low key, everyone’s doing their own thing, I really love it. It's important to unwind. I don't drink coffee because I work such long hours sometimes, if I relied on coffee to keep me going I wouldn't know when my body was telling me to rest. I know I'd just keep going and going if I had coffee. 

 
Glass jars here, glass jars there, glass jars everywhere... And we love it. 

Glass jars here, glass jars there, glass jars everywhere... And we love it. 

I want a black metal compost bin... 

... that has a flip lid! Now I use an Aesop packaging box. You only want your compost bin to be small because it makes you fill it. When you drop it, without a lid, things fall around the side and the bin ends up dirty… This one really seals because it has a lid. 

I’m an aesthetic person.

I put hair gel in my bag in a glass jam jar [because I don’t like packaging]. I even take muesli and things, when we go away, in jars. My husband is like, but it’s heavier… But I think, if we’re driving, it’s much nicer to pour muesli out of a glass container than it is out of a plastic container. All of my spices and teas go in glass jars too.

 
Bianca fell in love with her home at first sight, mostly due to its original features and character. 

Bianca fell in love with her home at first sight, mostly due to its original features and character. 

I’ve never had a television…

…they become a focal point of the room, so one day I was thinking of have a projector screen in the room that [can] disappear. We only have laptops and not even a computer. For my kids, I feel their visualisation powers are stronger [without a TV].  We only have laptops. 

 
Story by Rikki Hodge-Smith; Interview by Sigourney Cantelo; Photography by Alice Mahran; Styling by Kristin Rawson.