When a designer marries all the elements that make him or her instantly identifiable – in this case, dazzling colour, print and innovative textiles – and then cuts and sews them with the mood of the moment in mind – in this case, the season’s new sensuality – he or she ends up with a knock-out collection. As was the case with Jonathan Saunders this morning.
The venue, a transparent tent in London’s King’s Cross, allowed the morning sun to stream in, all the better to imagine Saunders’ clothes being worn for real on a scorching day next summer.
‘A colourful, emotional, sensual tribe,’ was how Saunders described the collection of slip dresses (fast becoming the dress of SS16), dressing gown coats, karate jackets, soft kimonos, wrap skirts and wide pants, often trailing long ties, all of them fluid elegance personified.
He’d taken his references from Africa and Japan, and spun them with effortless wearability, so nothing constricted the body but rather slithered over it.
‘I want my customer to be able to wear the colour in her own way,’ explained the colour-and-print-master who applied ‘acidic punches’ of lemon and orange to his ‘foundation’ colours (blush, beige neutrals) and heated up entire outfits with deep reds and scorching pinks.
His passion for textiles, also evident in the slippery satins, mosaic lace, devoré and paisley screen-prints that sometimes came spliced together in a single bias cut slip.
‘This was a significant collection for me. The business is in such a great place, so it was time to really focus on what I’m known for,’ said Saunders, referring to his recent investment from Eiesha Bharti Pasricha, the daughter of telecom baron Sunil Bharti Mittal, who has also invested in fellow designer Roksanda Ilincic.
Judging by this collection, and listening to Saunders’ renewed confidence, it looks as if that investment will more than pay off.