“Eleven and a half months,” as he pointed out. The winter collection – “formerly known as resort,” said Saunders. Saunders seems to have a grip on how to finesse the brand backbone — color, print, cheerful glamour — with an eye toward sophistication and modernization without going too far in either direction. Working with bias-cut silhouettes and simple shapes has been key to reining in the mixed prints and color.
He’s been turning on fashion editors with his bias-cut floral-print frocks. Naturally, there were more of those in his new Resort lineup, including a pretty slip dress style that combined black and a peachy shade of pink. Given the delivery time of this collection—just before the holidays—he experimented with a jewel-tone velvet devoré stripe, and layered a printed stripe slip over a matching fine-gauge knit. Saunders does a lot of fabric development, and one of the most compelling he came up with here was a hand-painted dot print on wet-looking Lurex; he used it for another slip dress and a slinky party top.
This lineup was “rooted in antiquity,” Saunders said. “I was looking at Victorian textile design, traditional arts and crafts, and decorative patterns.” Those references came through in floral prints and rich colors — blue, pink, bordeaux — on a ruched silk tulle dress and puffer parka, and the structure of a corset top and simple dress, but there was nothing antique about the attitude. Many dresses had long sleeves and body-conscious lines to temper big prints or micro sequins. A T-shirt with a diagonal ruffle across the chest and mixed print paneled skirt was a nice sporty feminine mix. Jacquard suits and striped slips captured the house patterns.
Color furs — real and faux — and flared leg denim added a fun, flirty, spirit, while a spare bonded leather and velvet jacket over a khaki and red striped kilt offered something more subdued. A pair of jacquard pantsuits were, he said, his tribute to David Bowie. And he added novelty to dark-rinse denim with grosgrain ribbons that he sourced at a vintage ribbon dealer in the Garment District, one of the discoveries he’s made since becoming a New Yorker.