High and mighty

Monday 20 February 2012

Designers · Featured

REPORT BY DAVID HAYES
Photography by Anna Bauer

Strictly leather: backstage at the Jonathan Saunders A/W 12 show yesterday.

“You’re not going to complain about the venue are you?” said an elated Jonathan Saunders backstage at his show (above) on the 19th floor of the Broadgate Tower. As if. The show was totally worth the long wait for the lifts and the mild vertigo-induced panic as you stepped into the sheer glass space looking over the City and beyond to Canary Wharf. “The tougher things that I wanted to express are reflected in the venue and the view,” said the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund winner.

The collection did indeed have a cool, tougher edge. “The starting point was a reaction to last season’s femininity,” said Saunders. “I wanted something much more strict, more like a uniform. I looked at a lot
of Japanese influences, architect Charlotte Perriand and equestrian tailoring.” He had a picture of Jackie Onassis in a tweed hacking jacket on horseback pinned to the studio wall.

“We argued about which way we should go: with the Japanese thing or the equestrian thing,” added Saunders. The equestrian won out, but only just. Cue a collection that mixed tweed tailoring and peaked visors with graphic brocade dresses and suits, grid-print satins, bold checked knits, quilted coats and the occasional flutter of oriental embroidery and oversized peony prints, all in a palette of red, soft lilac, bright green, grey and black.
And more magic: it was timed to perfection so the sun set during the show. Or was it a cheeky pre-show cigarette that delayed the start that thus revealed night falling? “Guilty as charged!” admitted Saunders.

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