Saskia Lenaerts holds a Master degree in fashion menswear from Central Saint Martins, Winner of The Considered Design award sponsored by Johnstons of Elgin and L’Oreal Professionnel scholarship.
Her work aims to disarm prejudice. It pushes for a more unified and borderless world, founded on celebrating both our cultural differences and commonalities.
GOLA (advance and retreat)
SASKIA is proud to present GOLA (advance and retreat): a film for her 2022 London Fashion Week debut. Exploring and expanding the limits of territory and personal versus collective space.
An intrinsic part of SASKIA’s identity developed thanks to her diverse heritage, one that has involved migration and cultural fuses across generations.
The trans-national way of life is normal for her, and one that she envisions for the world.
Being conscious of how politically charged the basic act of crossing a line has become, she asks us to look beyond and imagine the possibilities that arise from cross-cultural lifestyles.
Fundamentally GOLA (advance and retreat) celebrates the positive outcomes which develop from negative ancestral displacements.
This collection uses disguise to conceal disguise.
The therapeutic design, craft and manufacturing processes applied when mutating, disguising and repurposing military garments are the vehicle for social healing.
- Surplus military knits are redefined into hoods, jumpers, leggings and boxer shorts.
- Discharged military quilted lining trousers are disguised by applying upcycled patch-work techniques.
- A trench coat and vest with inbuilt volume occupying the negative spaces between bodies.
- Disarmed combat trousers are slashed and reconfigured.
- Old army drinking flasks turn into moulds for hand-moulded leather goods.
These combat garments have been discharged from their original posts and now serve a novel function.
For this film SASKIA joined forces with director and long-time friend Vitoria De Mello Franco.
The collection story and values resonated to De Mello Franco and the charged energy in her home-country: Brazil. SASKIA untied herself from her personal story and collection. She passed the torch and allowed creative freedom for the film to shed new perspectives on trans-nationalism in a different geography.
In light of this, De Mello Franco formed a creative team with directors Ian Cheibub and Marina Zabenzi to collectively reflect, document, question, investigate and interview discharged soldiers, capoeira masters, the everyday people and more. Granting the opportunity for SASKIA’s purpose and mission to reach new grounds and become a truly collaborative and trans-global brand. The dual title reflects this collaboration, “GOLA” the title given by the Brazilian team and “(advance and retreat)” by SASKIA.
For the film, the team conceptualized how to re-symbolize traditional confrontation and fighting gestures through the bodies of contemporary transnational men.
Capoeira became the primary source of research. As a martial art, its origins developed from disguising oneself. As a means for survival, dance, music and movement became the tools to conceal fighting techniques.
Capoeira represents temporary possibilities of penetrating forbidden territories.
Its motions and gesticulations are defined by the “ginga”, or swing, and are never stagnant.
The team flourished a close relationship with two capoeira fighters, Flexa and Espião, and their Master Bruno Pé de Boi.
Pé de Boi invited the team to watch and document his weekly capoeira classes. Subsequently his consultancy and movement-direction became integral to the film. Thanks to these men, the team infiltrated their territory in order to investigate the negative space and interaction between their bodies.
At a first glance, the bodies represent a traditional masculine aesthetic. Distant but almost moving as one, both men carry an ancestral struggle for reterritorialization in their bodies.
Through the swing, we blur the boundaries of what is a fight and what is an embrace. What is personal, what is collective. What is an attack and what is a peace-offering? GOLA intends to expand the limits of demarcation. A balancing act between advancing and retreating.
Full GOLA (advance and retreat) creative team:
“I thank you for pouring your deeply personal and collective feelings into creating this film. This collaboration has moved me.”
It bolstered inventive practices for SASKIA’s brand and mission to engage in social healing.
Direction: Ian Cheibub, Mariah Schwartz, Marina Zabenzi and Vitoria de Mello Franco
Story: Ian Cheibub, Mariah Schwartz, Marina Zabenzi and Vitoria de Mello Franco
Cast: Espião / Luiz Fernando Lukas Flexa and Flexa / Hugo Sacramento
Movement director: Mestre Bruno Pé de boi.
Executive Producer: Saskia Lenaerts
Producers: Ian Cheibub, Marina Zabenzi and Vitoria de Mello Franco
Associate Producer: Mestre Bruno Pé de Boi
Cinematography: Ian Cheibub and Marina Zabenzi
Artistic campaign direction: GALOPE Studio and Vitoria De Mello Franco.
Styling: Natasha Ribas and Olivia Lodi
First camera assistant: Lucas Affonso
Graphic design: GALOPE Studio
Editing: Gabb Neves
Colour grading: Gabb Neves
Sound design and original soundtrack: Felipe Fernandes
Special Thanks to for your support: Capoeira Pé de Boi, Oliver Equipamentos.
Special thanks for the support: London Fashion Week, British Fashion Council and the New Enterprise Grant.