Jonathan Saunders

Jonathan Saunders’ spring collection was held yesterday at 2 Kingdom Street, the impossibly shiny apartment-cum-office complex-cum-events-hall that never seems to run out of space—or hyphenates. On most days it leads a charmed life, staring down street-level Paddington like a megalomanic contestant on Big Brother. But when it rains, it pours. And Kingdom Street was such a way off from the LFW’s Somerset House headquarters that it felt, for some editors, like a trek to Narnia. “Not all of us have chauffeurs,” one pointed out tersely, shaking drops off the sleeves of her mac. Parking was limited, as was visibility, and a driver accidentally rear-ended another town car mere seconds before show time, sending gasps through the waiting crowd like a gale.

If the atmosphere was frosty outside, those grievances melted away once the show began. Spring sprang at Saunders. The designer reasserted his dominance as one of fashion’s leading printmakers, incorporating tropical paisley patterns with his recurring ombre trend. The result was a sugary medley of lime green, sunset pinks, buttery yellows, and about a thousand different shades of blue, shaken and served tall.

While most interpretations of spring have so far meant barely-there silhouettes and naked torsos, Saunders’ was an approximation of Ariel meets Arianna Huffingtonm which is to say bookish cardigans and 50s-styled frocks that would have passed as matronly had they not been so colorfully chic. Hawaiian button-down shirts, meanwhile, were cropped and boxy, and lace was strategically embroidered over mesh to keep unwarranted flashes strictly at bay. Even the rare sighting of black was sweet, form-fitting long-sleeved gowns paired with color-blocked and ribboned platforms by Christian Louboutin.

The neon lights, the sun-addled soundtrack, the prismatic colors—Saunders’ Indian summer lasted no more than fifteen minutes, but it was a breath of fresh air that made braving the London chill more than worth it.

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