“In doing this season, I definitely continued the process of the first collection,” said Jonathan Saunders, who showed his sophomore collection for Diane von Furstenberg at a gallery presentation on Sunday. “It’s about an eclectic mix of materials, clashing colors and a sense of ease.”
Ease, but not discretion. The DVF girl has long been a proponent of flamboyant reality, an optimist who believed in the transformative powers of fashion. For fall, Saunders gave her plenty to love in bold, graphic clashes of color, patterns and sometimes, materials — silk twill prints with paillettes with fur, all worn in fanciful collaged assemblages. While his patterns derived from a range of sources, Saunders said his primary inspirations were African and Japanese, giving the collection an element of exotica.
Last season, he experimented with alternative concepts of wrapping, particularly kimono dressing, and here he continued with similar constructions. He paid a great deal of attention to bias cuts and scarf dressing, for an attitude that was both relaxed and sensual — hallmarks of the house. In his brief tenure, Saunders had shown a clear intention to adhering to those core tenets while pushing the eccentricity quotient. To that end, he was inspired by photographer Gilles Larrain’s 1973 book “Idols,” which featured “lots of eccentric pictures of his friends.” By continuing to expand on the house’s sportswear offerings, he can infuse the collection with heightened quirkiness via offbeat pilings. Cases in point: A bright blue fur jacket over an animal spotted wrap dress over snappy trousers: a striped bomber over fluid, floral pajama pants.
Throughout, there was a great deal of visual stimuli in play — too much to fully take in what was a pleasant but tight gallery space that featured a tableau of models that was difficult to see in full, as well as a tight, static installation. What was evident is that Saunders’ DVF is a delight — pretty, fun and fresh. It’s also quite specific, and will require nuanced but obvious movement if it’s to retain that freshness going forward.