London Collections: Backstage @ Jonathan Saunders

There’s little to compare to the buzz of backstage at a fashion show, and little else still when that show happens to be the Jonathan Saunders Spring/Summer 2013 showcase at the inaugural London Collections Men’s fashion weekender. Brandish popped down pre-show for a quick look at how one of the most eagerly-anticipated and talked about events of the weekend came together.

A rabbit-warren of a venue with winding, near-vertical stairs that open out into a dramatic high-ceilinged space, Brandish climbed through the Elms Lesters Painting Rooms to meet with hair stylist Paul Hanlon. Not even a power-outage at the venue could stop him as he talked us through the Bowie-inspired look, using Fekkai products to pull back and add volume to the hair of the 11 models crammed into his makeshift salon.

“I’m kind of trying to tap into that time after Bowie had done with his Ziggy thing. No more red hair, much more mature, more masculine, in a way, less glam rock. This was a time when he was wearing the big pants, shirts. He was much more elegant,” explained Hanlon.

“There’s elements of the fifties in there too, but never falling into rockabilly styles. I don’t want it too androidy though either, there are imperfections in there too, adding character. Think of ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth‘, all that sort of time, and you’d be right on it.”

It’s a look both on trend and achievable, with clean lines and light sideburns, pulling blow-dryed hair back from the face through the roots with a wide-comb, strong wax and mousse for a sharp, uniform look that never veers into militarized territory.

With little under an hour till doors opened, models were still having the final touches applied, with last minute changes to the model line-up meaning a frantic rethink of how best to present the line.

The show itself was rapturously received. Rather than a runway show, Saunders opted for a slightly more laid back static showcase, with the 11 models posing in a colourfully decorated corner of the Elms Lesters Painting Rooms. Chatting to each other beneath the striking natural light of the venue’s sloping skylight, the models entertained guests including David Gandy and Reggie Yates.

Rails of items from the collection were available for guests to browse, giving all in attendance the chance to get up close and personal with the range.

As Saunders first full men’s collection, the Scottish designer effortlessly played with his trademark striking colours, bringing together graphic, geometric prints on short-sleeves, suits, twinsets and casual wear. Knitwear too, used by Saunders as a “gateway garment” for men looking to add a slightly more subtle dash of colour to their wardrobes, also featured heavily. High neck lines throughout kept the line sophisticated, but the bold, retro stylings keep the collection from ever feeling stuffy. Christian Louboutin’s shoes were a perfect complement, with playful metallics and suede grounding a superbly wearable set.

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Gerald Lynch





Gerald LynchLondon Collections: Backstage @ Jonathan Saunders