Backstage at his AW15 show, we chatted colour, women and business with fashion’s favourite Scot…
Jonathan Saunders placed a rainbow of Pantone pillars down the centre of the Tate Britain yesterday, a catwalk fitting for a designer dubbed the King of Colour. And colour there was. From bold blocks to sash-effect stripes and psychedelic swirls, his AW15 collection went back to his colour blocking roots – mixed with this season’s ubiquitous ’70s mood and a healthy measure of space-age mod. The result? Clothes we, quite simply, just want to wear. We fought through the crowds of adoring editors backstage to find out just how Jonathan knows what women want.
What was your starting point for AW15?
What happened with Louise Wilson [passing away] made me go back and really look at my first ever collection, when she taught me on the Central Saint Martin’s MA. I wanted to remember what it felt like – the reason why I started all this. So it was a very emotional thing. This collection was about going back to the core of my brand.
And what is that core?
It’s feminine, it’s modern and it’s colourful. My aim is to create clothes for women that they wouldn’t normally buy into – it’s about getting out of your comfort zone.
How did colour play a part this season?
I love the way women react to colour – how my many amazing girlfriends can buy a magenta sweater and interpret it in their own way. That’s what I get excited by – it’s about how colour makes you feel.
Do you think people find colour difficult to wear?
Definitely. But I think it shows confidence. It’s about making choices, making yourself stand out.
Did the Tate Britain setting inspire you?
I referenced art a lot. Spent time researching the work of Allen Jones, Daniel Buren and Bridget Riley (who I’ve never quite liked – but obviously now I do!). Martin Creed too – a fellow Scotsman – he loves colour. I’ve been dying to meet him!
The collection felt quite space-age. What inspired that?
There was definitely a [Stanley] Kubrick feel. But I reinterpreted that sort of modern space cadet by making sure it wasn’t overly structured. All the fabrics were wools and crepes – fabrics that are easy to wear. So it didn’t feel overly architectural.
You recently announced a new business partnership [with Eisha Bharti Pasricha] – how will that change the brand?
It’ll all take time, but we’ve got some really exciting things planned. It’s an amazing partnership – she’s a wonderful woman. She really believes in a brand being true to itself, supporting designers and their creativity.
How important is the business side of things to you?
It adds a structure that can take my design to the next level. It means you’re not just sat in a room making clothes – you have to work as hard as you possibly can to make it viable as a business. There are so many exciting things I’m going to start dong, like accessories. That’ll be tomorrow’s meeting!
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Words: Holly Swayne. Photos: Jason Lloyd-Evans.