The essence of Jonathan Saunders
' designs has always been sophisticated artifice—painstakingly crafted prints in shades unfamiliar to the natural world—which meant it was inevitable in the act-and-re-act roundelay of fashion that the designer would eventually adopt a contrary position and cast his city slicker out into the great outdoors. So, for Fall 2013, the Saunders man became a nature boy, casual, unbuttoned, freed into a universe colored by sky, forest, and sunset. Saunders the arch-colorist was in full cry in blanket-striped coats and ombré-shaded tops, appropriately rendered in natural fabrics like woolly felts, fuzzy alpaca, and mohair weaves, flannel, and cotton sateens. He claimed inspiration from the artist Olafur Eliasson, who has managed to duplicate some of nature's grandest effects in his large-scale installations. In particular, it was Eliasson's match of the natural and the man-made—moss and plastic, say—that captured Saunders' imagination. He layered a coat in an autumnal burnt orange over a mossy green jacket over a sweatshirt in a laminated wool as shiny black as an oil slick. The result was a winning blend of sharp and easy. And there were Christian Louboutin's neon-soled slip-ons to guarantee that the designer's sexy, synthetic edge was still served. After all, can you really
picture Saunders himself capering through the countryside?