Jonathan Saunders — London Fashion Week AW15 show

“Joy and optimism” was how Jonathan Saunders described his technicolour AW15 collection. No wonder, since the designer has just received the backing of a new private investor, the 31-year-old Indian businesswoman Eiesha Bharti Pasricha — who announced a similar investment with Roksanda Ilincic last year. The money will allow him to develop and expand on his ready-to-wear line. He is feeling pretty happy — and it shows.

“Well, I have been known to like colour,” continued the Glaswegian designer with a wolfish grin, “but this time I just kept adding more and more — and more. Usually I try and balance it, but this time I went with unbalanced.”

Tonally, the colours shouldn’t have worked: puce with orange with acid pink, with ice blue, with a jet black stripe down the side; bright, bright primaries shot with brown; crimson, nude and black. But Saunders has been experimenting with colour ways for long enough to know what he is doing.

The graphic shapes were all part of a long-term fascination of using “tone and shape to create a three-dimensional look on the female form.” Saunders, who did an early university study on Op Art, had drawn on the artists Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley to create his vivid intarsia knits and stripes and cloudlike prints, and had revisited his first collection as a point from which to build.

With its lean lines, slim fits, long sleeves and high necks, this was modest also. The polo neck featured throughout as it has on every catwalk (first reintroduced at Louis Vuitton for AW14, it is now the superstar separate of next season). Saunders was aware that his clients are cautious of letting “the colour wear them”, so had offered a demure silhouette to counteract the volume of the tones. Still, for those confident enough to go the distance, he offered skin-tight bright leather lace-up boots to match. “Joy and optimism — in fetish boots,” another wag observed.


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