This may have been the most confusing fashion show I have ever seen (except for the Midwest, where confusion is pretty much status quo). When I hear the name Jonathan Saunders, I think brightly colored patterns, feminine styling, and an abundance of A-line shift dresses. Did we see any of that today? No, we did not. In fact, there were precious few prints of any kind, muted colors, and I think maybe there was one, and only one, A-line dress in the entire collection. What did we just see?
Let’s start with the fact that the show was held in one of London’s most fantastic spaces: The British Museum of Natural History. Beautiful. Large. Grandiose. Great place for a fashion presentation, right? Well, it might have been had the models actually known where to walk. Unfortunately, instead of a well-defined runway, models were just given instructions that started, “Go to the middle of the center door and then gently arc to the right… ” By the time there were four models in play at the same time, no one was sure where to look, the models seemed unsure where to walk, and it is no small miracle that none of them managed to run into each other. All it would have taken was a single moment of distraction and we would have had a disaster on our hands!
In place of brightly colored prints and patterns, we had muted pastels and bows. Large, unexplained, often wilting, bows. Why did you choose bows, Jonathan? The garments didn’t need bows at all and especially not at this size! And what in the world was that sequined stuff on the first several looks? Were they birds? Leaves? Flowers? All anyone saw was a mess of sequins without any real sense of definition. They looked like a sequined cat had vomited on them!
Oh, and what’s up with the tulip skirts and all the damn ruffles in places where it doesn’t make any sense to have ruffles, such as the entire bodice of a blouse? Tulip skirts can be nice in the right setting, but these little buds looked more like they’d been yanked from their beds. And ruffles were almost worse than the bows. Almost.
When I go back and compare this collection with the spring/summer 2014 collection, it is difficult to believe I’m looking at the work of the same designer. I understand being creative often means mixing it up a bit, but this collection is so significantly different that one doesn’t even see the same DNA that was there before. This is sort of scary.
Still pictures actually help out with this collection, partly because the lack of movement makes it easier to determine exactly what all those damn sequins are supposed to be (basic floral elements). Sometimes sparkle can get in the way and this was definitely one of those times. We’ll chalk this up to a curious moment of experimentation and anxiously await to see what Saunders does for the fall/winter. This season was just too damn confusing.
Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier