So far, so good for Jonathan Saunders at Diane von Furstenberg. Pre-fall, or summer as he called it (shouldn’t we all?), was his second collection since taking the creative helm at the house. The positive, distinct refresh he ushered in for spring held strong for summer, as Saunders nimbly handled the DVF core — prints, wraps, knits, color — with a light, relevant hand that was free of any clunky, forced homage. This is what a peaceful, welcome transition of creative power looks like.
“I kept using words like lightness and a synthetic color palette and clashing them,” said Saunders, mentioning the recent Moholy-Nagy exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. “It wasn’t a literal reference, just a general feeling of balancing artificial colors in a delicate way.” Dresses were constructed with ease, often cut on the bias in tank or T-shirt constructions, some with a new, minimal, modern nod to the quintessential wrap. Saunders’ synthetic colors were acid yellow, pink, blue and purple executed in checks and dots, some prints worked in color-blocked mixes on one garment or abstracted into scribbled lace and fil coupe.
Many of the treatments were anchored in tradition but given a modern, eccentric update, such as Victorian florals that were redrawn and vividly recolored in a most un-Victorian way. There were silk shirts, spongy ribbed knit dresses and floral painted leather jackets and fur-trimmed toppers to round out the mix. Natural materials — silk crepe de chine; embroidered silk and linen; suede, and cotton twill — kept the style elevated, while the easy shapes and happy color that coursed through all categories, including chunky jewelry, bags and shoes, kept the look approachable.