Jonathan Saunders – Pre Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-To-Wear
Jonathan Saunders is a very happy man, if his Resort collection is any indication. The energy and optimism that’s been fostered by new backing was all in the clothes. It was very much a collection of Saunders staples—the bomber, the pencil skirt, waffle knits, schoolgirl V-necks, voluminous pants—but they were delivered with a real pop! The starting point was something he called “synthetic aesthetic” and that got him thinking about Jeff Koons’ colors, particularly in the body of work called Celebration, one of the artist’s most vividly kitsch outings. Saunders’ use of spray-painting had a Koonsian flair, the way bright pink and yellow shaded into each other on a coat, for instance. There were also sinuous dresses in bias-cut panels of Lurex spray-painted along their seams. The Lurex was something new for Saunders. He used it in a dévoré top and skirt, the silver of the Lurex burned out to form an orange floral pattern, the hint of chinoiserie carried over from Fall. Same with a sheer sheath delicately embroidered with flowers and laid over a silk charmeuse slip, one of the stars of the collection. Tongue only half in cheek, Saunders said he was impressed by Suzie Wong in the Met’s current China exhibition.
Also carried over from Fall was the influence of another artist, Ugo Rondinone, in a spectacular hand-painted “bullseye” scarf. And there was more art in the brightly colored Pointillism of the collection’s key print. In the past, Saunders’ efforts to marry modernity and femininity have often erred on the side of the willfully perverse. Alluring as that may have been then, it’s a pleasure to see him now facilitating the union in such an upbeat, direct way. Happiness attracts.