As the recipient of the British Fashion Council/Vogue Fashion Fund Prize earlier this year and winner of  British Designer of the Year at the Elle Style Awards only last week, expectations were high for the Glasgow-born designer at London Fashion Week.

The polished Autumn/Winter 2012 collection shown on the 19th floor of the Broadgate Tower certainly cemented Jonathan Suanders’ position as one of the most influential and revered designers of the moment. The backdrop of London at sunset and the laser beamed runway made the perfect setting to display another mesmerising collection by Saunders, which included prim, neat lines, tailored separates and a daring colour palate of burgundy, greens, pastels and pillar-box red.

The show opened with a somewhat equestrian feel, with looks incorporating neat jackets and high collars, along with jacquard trousers sporting zips at the ankle and a subtle diamond pattern. As the show progressed, Saunders presented a sporty vibe with slicked back ponytails, visors, a checked roll neck jumper and various chequered skirts.

Before the show, Saunders discussed his inspirations for the latest collection and cited the film In the Mood for Love,which echoed in the vivid patterns of the floral dresses and high collars. He also spoke of the influences on his collection from architect and designer Charlotte Perriand, and artists Vanessa Beecroft and David Hockney. The graphic, floral dresses were some of the standout pieces of the show, simultaneously being both prim and buttoned up, but also youthful and flirty thanks to the floaty, voluminous bottom halves and the occasional thigh-high slit.

On the accessories front the show was minimal and in keeping with the tightly edited feel, although every design was finished with a pair of Louboutin heels – and of course the occasional visor, which had critics divided.

Saunders also said of his collection that it is fundamentally about “coat dressing; about the layers, and colour and bringing together hints of saddlewear”, a statement that encompasses the multitude of double breasted jackets, full bodied pastel coats and wearable fitted jackets seen early in the show. Saunders, now famous for his love of all things patterned and printed, also didn’t disappoint with various mismatched textures and bold colours, and the effortless layering of contrasting fabrics and prints added a particularly interesting dimension to the looks. Femininity still reigned supreme , particularly shown in the flowing movement of the fabric and the crowd-pleasing floral applique dresses of the finale.

Emily Tarbuck.

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