September 18, 2006
Jonathan Saunders took a convincing step forward this season. "I didn't want to clutter a dress with print," he explained. Instead, he melded decoration into the structural design of his dresses. It made for softer, lighter, more graphically linear shapes, with the pattern worked into embroideries as well as printed zones. His starting point was a section of military braiding that he exaggerated and abstracted into knotted, curling surface patterns in cream-on-cream padded-satin embroidery. There were also subtle swirls and geometrics in gray, orange, and cornflower blue. Some of the shoulder-tab details and crystal embroideries, he said, were derived from armor, but the effects were anything but aggressive. Along the way, he came up with some clever devices, like layering a printed tabard over a fitted dress, or restricting pattern to just a belt. They gave the collection a sense of sophistication and delicacy that some of his previous more print-heavy clothes have lacked.