The familiar site of Tate Britain was transformed into an eerie venue for Jonathan Saunders’s fall show. The salvage yard concept, realized in the ceiling-high stacks of dismantled television sets and second-hand speakers, became clear only when the models emerged. This was a collection that was, by no means, a Saunders signature.
The focus here was textile development, a move forward for the designer who trained in print design. It came through in oversized coats and skirts intentionally cut for a midcalf length and paneled in everything from pinstripes to metallic embroidered cuttings. There were tough glittered trims on hems and patchwork panels that lent the clothes a DIY attitude, not unfamiliar after the punk renaissance recently.
It seems fitting then that Saunders revealed after the show that it was a collection largely constructed from surplus material from his latest men’s collection, albeit cut up and bonded with glitter for an altogether new look. He also revealed that one of the key themes was salvaging the not-so-precious and turning it into something desirable, which explains several cocktail dresses that looked as though there were constructed from hundreds of squares of sample cuttings.
That’s not to say that there wasn’t polish; each piece was impeccably crafted and finished with the expertise of a man who has been in the business for more than a decade. If anything, it seems that Saunders challenged himself to voyage further into the unknown, and the result was spectacular.