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Big changes at Jonathan Saunders, who has this year picked up a new investor, Eiesha Bharti Pasricha, a new team, and a new CEO, Rupert Maunsell, who arrived from Mary Katrantzou nine weeks ago and has been “working his arse off ever since” according to the charmingly candid Glaswegian designer.
Big opportunities, too, for the label which, after 12 years in business and a bruising economic recession, has new vitality and ambition. Of the exact plans, Maunsell wasn’t saying on Sunday morning, but watch this space.
In the meantime, we watched the clothes, a colourful essay in silk bias using traditional textile prints and multicultural references that included kimono-tie jackets in suede, African batiks, Paisley prints in acid yellows and elongated Indian Nehru coats. There were gentle slip dresses, split cut, multi-panelled skirts and a guipure dress inspired by “Pink Floyd sketches” Saunders had made as a student at St Martins. And all in Saunders’s typically perverse colour schemes — wine, peach and tangerine, for example.
The clothes were deceptively simple. Saunders had wrestled with the bias cut for “three f*****g weeks” before being satisfied with his technique. “It takes a great deal of work to make something look so effortless,” he joked backstage.
Crucially, the new investment had allowed him to spend longer on the details: skirts lined with different colourways and silks, fabric development and finishes. The little touches added real finesse — especially in the more layered looks. Money well spent.