Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, better known for his large scale installations, presented last year during the 13th Venice International Architecture Biennale a project focused on artificial light and electricity conceived as global human rights. Through different videos and his “Little Sun” solar-powered lamp designed with Frederik Ottesen, Eliasson tried to make visitors aware of this project that aimed at bringing light to all those people in the world who live off the electrical grid.
In the same way, Jonathan Saunders has proved throughout his collections that he is able to bring bright and subtle shades into garments, so it was only natural for the fashion designer to mention Eliasson as one of his inspirations for his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection (though also those iridescent moods in his S/S 13 womenswear collection may have something to do with being fascinated with light).
While the main themes for this collection revolving around the outdoors and nature provided the main inspirations for bomber jackets, hooded parkas and blanket-striped three-quarter-length coats, Eliasson and his studies about natural and artificial light were probably behind the designer's catchy dégradé effects on tops with gathered hems with shades that seemed borrowed from a painter Saunders often references, David Hockney.
Some of the colours for this collection seemed to come from Hockney's widely praised exhibition "A Bigger Picture" and in particular from his "Winter Timber" (2009) painting with those violet, electric blues and orangey tones (View this photo).
Saunders' knits came in bold colours, with graphic motifs or vibrant prints that at times produced what looked like camouflage pattern but actually represented stains of paint. Bright shades were also employed for the soles of Christian Louboutin for Saunders' sporty shoes.
The dégradé effects weren't the only elements that played with Eliasson's concepts: the artist's latest project looked at the theme of artificial Vs natural, a dichotomy that Saunders explored by juxtaposing natural fabrics such as wool, mohair, alpaca and felt with new technologically advaced techniques like bonding or adding contrasting panels in shiny laminated textiles.
Some shades and knitwear stitches and textures were reminiscent of the A/W 12 collection, but Saunders's menswear (currently sold in Selfridges while for his Resort collection the designer started last year a collaboration with online retailer Motilo) is going well, so there doesn't seem to be any reason why a successful formula should be changed. In fact while the fashion industry has recently been playing with gender bending in a rather silly way, reaching risible results during the “London Collections: Men” event (read J.W. Anderson and his frilly and ruffled menswear that looks for shapes, silhouettes and proportions unwearable even for women), Saunders has found the correct balance in relatively simple, wearable and desirable pieces capable of attracting both men and women.Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos
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