An office block in Paddington may not be the most obvious venue for a fashion show, but as the fashion fraternity filed into the spare modern space last night for the Jonathan Saunders show, we had to admit it was pretty spectacular. A blank canvas, bar a string of enormous helium inflated white balls springing from the catwalk, it proved to be a brilliant backdrop to Saunders' A/W '11 collection.
Print, colour and texture, the three elements Saunders returns to season after season were at the core of this collection. Shapes were controlled, prim even, dresses skimmed the body, neat mohair panelled coats buttoned-up-to-the-neck and ladylike blouses tucked into a mid calf length pencil skirts. But far from being asexual, each look had an element that whispered grown up sex appeal – a thigh revealing slit, a waist cinched with a whip thin belt, a chiffon hem on a dress betraying a glimpse of calf.
These strict silhouettes proved to be the perfect foil for the main attraction of the collection; Saunders' incredible prints and use of colour. Flora and fauna rioted over dresses and skirts, often clashed with another print or contrasting colour-way. A graphic print was best used in an outfit worn by Jourdan Dunn – her skirt, shirt and jacket all in the same pattern but each item was a different colour. Saunders is a man who knows a thing or two about colour clashing, the most successful combos of this collection were a blouse that was kelly green from the front with a back panel of salmon pink - annoyingly from these pictures you can't see the back panel, so you'll have to take it from me, tucked into a claret skirt, it was sensational. Other winners – periwinkle and colbalt blue with ruby red and a slice of black, lime green with teal and black, and lipstick red with electric blue (these colour partnerships also succesfully ran through the menswear looks that Saunders was showing for the first time).
This was a collection that ticks all the magic boxes; it had catwalk presence in shedloads, will make for stunning editorial in autumn/winter magazine fashion shoots, yet you can easily imagine real women wearing these clothes in their real lives (including this real woman in my real life!) making it a commercial goer. Job done.
The takeaway – what I loved:
The stealth sex appeal of the strict silhouettes.
The mouth watering colour combinations.
The beautiful bird prints.
The uber simple ponytails harnessed with a plain black head band.
The sculptural giant floating balls that divided the catwalk.
- Siobhan Mallen