With his prodigious talent for print design, Scotsman Jonathan Saunders has distinguished himself as one of fashion's rising stars. In 2002, he exploded onto the international scene when his graduate show at Central Saint Martins, a series of brightly printed chiffon caftans, became an industry-wide sensation. Within 48 hours, Alexander McQueen commissioned him to produce the much-acclaimed bird-of-paradise prints for his 2003 collection. A few months later, British Vogue featured a Jonathan Saunders design on the cover. And just like that, his label was on its way.
Chloé and Pucci came calling, enlisting him as a consultant. Christian Lacroix (Pucci's creative director at the time) even tapped him to design new prints that were not based on Emilio Pucci's archives, a first for the company.
What separates Saunders' prints is his labor-intensive design process, which can take months of painstaking work. He uses traditional silk-screening techniques, drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as Rudi Gernreich and Japanese manga cartoons, but uniquely designs each print to suit an individual garment rather than a range of looks across an entire collection. In recent collections, he has focused more on structure and tailoring, scaling back on his use of prints. His Fall 2007 collection, with its series of color-blocked dresses, received rave reviews.
In 2006, he was named Scottish Fashion Designer of the Year, and two years later, he debuted his collection during New York fashion week after five years on the London runways. In addition to an ongoing collaboration with London-based retailer Topshop, Saunders presented a capsule collection for Target in fall 2008 and stepped into his new role as creative director of Italian brand Pollini.
Jonathan Saunders: Spring 2008
Runway, backstage, and front-row footage from the London show.