January 06, 2014 London
Saunders excels at evoking a scene with his presentations. He does it so well because he's in thrall to other scenes. This season, Ryan McGinley's and David Armstrong's raw, celebratory photos of their friends were on his mood board. And there were, as usual, images of the choreographer Michael Clark, collaborator and close friend of the late and increasingly legendary Leigh Bowery. Something in the clothes picked up on the tacky, fearless headiness of their worlds: a sweater banded in blue Lurex paired with red track pants, a silver leather blouson, the lurid boldness of stripes and checkerboards. The Crombie bisected by horizontal stripes has become something of a signature piece for Saunders, even more so for this particular collection when the stripes were Lurex. "Freedom, grittiness, people without money being creative," Saunders said of his influences.
But athletic grace is also a foundation of McGinley's photography and Clark's choreography, and that same quality has increasingly infiltrated Saunders' clothes. It's something to do with the way his casually luxurious fabrics have of moving around the body. The most striking effect, however, was achieved when Saunders laboriously hand-colored a precious Arts and Craft-style print in felt-tip pen, then wrapped it in bands of bleach. He had no clue at all how it would turn out. "Vandalizing," he called it. So it is already one of Fall 2014's happiest accidents that, cut into a blouson and pants, the result was so damn desirable.