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Thu, Jun 03, 2004 - Page 15 News List

A new star is born in fashion

By Liz Clark  /  London Press Service

A STAR bursts into life at London Fashion Week every few years. During those hectic few days someone catches the attention of the media and emerges as the face of the future or the one to watch his name. It has always been a man suddenly known to all, in and out of the fashion industry.

In 1984 it was John Galliano whose obvious genius brought him sharply into the limelight, and in the early 1990s the controversial talents of Alexander McQueen were the talk of the town.

This year it is the turn of 25-year-old Jonathan Saunders, who similar to the other two designers, is a graduate of Central St Martin College of Art and Design, London.

It is the inventiveness and originality - and wearability -- of Saunderss kaleidoscopic collection for spring/summer 2004 that has caused all the excitement, particularly the vibrant, geometric, silk-screen prints that he hand creates in his studio in Brixton, south London. No computers are involved in his work - rare in these high-tech times.

Like Galliano and McQueen, Saunders is a perfectionist in his work and spends hours getting the pattern pieces and his complex, intricately engineered prints exactly right for his close-fitting mini dresses, flattering catsuits and long flowing tops. Each piece has a different print that often dictates the shape of the item.

Born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, after completing his schooling Saunders started a four-year course in product and furniture design at Glasgow School of Art (GSA) but later changed to fashion and textiles. Armed with a degree from GSA, he went on to St Martin, where, he told one interviewer: "All these colours started coming out of nowhere. It was liberation, totally."

At present, Jonathan collection can be found at Pineal Eye in London; Il Duomo in Milan; Henri Bendel in New York; Va Sara in Japan, and Shine in Hong Kong. But with the acclaim he recently won from both the fashion press and the international buyers visiting London for Fashion Week, his clothes should soon be more widely available.

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