The inexplicable leaf of blue paper slipped into the invitation to Jonathan Saunders’ show made sense when the designer explained the rationale behind his new collection. In his files, he’d come across a piece of cotton voile from a Japanese mill as light—and pliable—as paper. The possibility of combining the two inspired a striking effect: paper saturated with blue, impressed on fabric, like artisanal color-blocking. “It’s about process,” master printmaker Saunders explained. He wanted lightness. He got it.
Maybe it was the mention of that voile that cued a subtle Japanese flow in the collection: like the cropped black pantsuit, delicately embroidered, beaded, and appliquéd with leaves and birds. Or the big bows that wrapped and tied so much, reminiscent of Rei. Or the utilitarian undertow in the plain cottons and stripes and Binx Walton’s grommeted scrubs. The delicacy of a shift composed of fluttering petals of fabric also felt Japanese.