Jonathan Saunders is on top of the world. Literally. Last night, on the 19th floor of a glass and steel building with the sunset over the city of London as a backdrop, the Scottish designer nailed another smash hit collection. This year’s winner of the coveted BFC Fashion Fund award, he will receive an invaluable £200,000 and mentorship from industry grandees thrown in. This collection proved that Jonathan Saunders is a gilt edged investment.
London Fashion Week is almost single handedly making women all over the world fall in love with print again. From Mary Katranzou to Peter Pilotto, Louise Gray and Michael Van der Ham, a whole new generation of designers are seducing women all over the world with their distinct take on textiles. Jonathan is one if the leaders in this hotly contested field with a handwriting that is sophisticatedly feminine and brightly optimistic from the lightest chiffon dresses to the chunkiest knit you might reach for on the greyest Glasgow day.
Fit and flare dresses and coats plus pleated swingy skirts and boxy sweaters pretty much summarises the shapes (give or take a skinny trouser or two). Saunders uses the simplest shapes as a stage for his painterly play. It’s the colour and texture that gave the collection an almost dizzying versatility. And he pushed his craft in unexpected directions. He could have wheeled out another pretty pattern (we’d probably have been happy). But he opened with a play with texture. Heavy wool jersey jackets embossed with a geometric pattern had an almost 3D quality. And jacquard weaves used for tailored jackets had a light reflecting brilliance and jewel coloured richness.
Dark floral prints were feminine with an urban edge. Swingy, box pleated skirts in a blown up tartan were worn over high wedged heeld boots and chunky sweaters (Saunders knits are a fast growing cult following among men and women). A scarlet wool knee length dress was simple enough but with it’s black ombre waist detail had head turning impact.
This designer who started printing his own dresses fresh from Central St Martins MA course in 2002 makes clothes that are a pleasure to look at and even more fun to buy. An increasing number of women all over the world are finding them hard to resist. They all have something to look forward to come Winter 2012.
by Paula Reed