If there is any single reason to come to London this weekend for its debut menswear season, it is to catch the latest collection from Jonathan Saunders.
A Scotsman based in London, Saunders has built a successful women's wear since he opened his business in 2003. This was only his second men's season but this crafty and cool combination suggests he is going to be a big name in menswear too.
"It's the Thin White Duke. David Bowie, rock and roll with a little psychedelic," Saunders explained at the event, staged in Elms Lesters Painting Room a beautifully decayed Victorian atelier where one climbed a rickety staircase to actually see the collection.
What made the event was the combination of wacky British pop with fresh clever tailoring. So a classic pinstripe comes in emerald green with a broad streak; while natty bowling jackets were made circuit board patterns that gradually changed colors that moved from top to bottom.
Saunders can also boast a great understanding of texture, in particular his wonderful waffle nylon and wool sweaters. Though his greatest strengths remains his imaginative printing, and ability to use bright colors with a rare joie de vivre.
This designer has always tapped into colorful rock-n-roll iconography; from his graduate show, whose bright kaftans were inspired by The Beatles "" album cover. In that vein, this display, staged Saturday, June 16, in London, was Saunders most assured to date.
No wonder he chose the location he did; an atelier where artisans produce many of the backdrops used in London West End musicals. That was evident from the brilliant staging, a giant crucifixion scene behind a mirror glass bar, a beautiful tableau of dashing models posed in a multiple image gallery of the clothes they were wearing. Hair cropped and slicked back, their dandy insouciance was perfect for this assured display by Saunders.