February 15, 2006 London
A prodigiously talented print designer with a fine-art background, Saunders has developed an increasingly sophisticated handwriting. He engineers pattern and shadingin this collection, graphic lines, blocks, and schematic feather printsto edge hems and the tips of scarves, and to lend trompe l'oeil effects to fluttering panels that seem to merge into the body of dresses. The show's black, white, and gray scheme was inspired by an odd collision of modernism and surrealism (and particularly by Elsa Schiaparelli's famous Tear dress), but that's not what really matters. Saunders can now cut a dress that not only shows off his prints, but also looks great on a body. More than that, his long evening dresses have a new raison d'être as eventwear for American women who like to feel pretty, but with an edge.