The Artist's Way

Designer David Saunders looks on the bright side. By Johnathan Lawhorne
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With the recent advent of fashion house-artist collaborations, it's more than a little refreshing to see some lesser-known creatives calling upon their own visual arts backgrounds to inform a new dimension of design. Case in point, David David, a newbie London label that has more than a few of the fashion elite sitting up to take notice. And with these colors…how could you not?
Helmed by David Saunders, a fine artist-cum-designer, this burgeoning line is marked by the brightest of brights and his already signature kaleidoscopic prints. Add to the list his exclusive placement at London's Dover Street Market—where his candy-colored knits and dresses are selling out—and it's evident that this star on the rise has something special in the works. "I'm making what I'd like to make," he says. "It's youthful, confident but cool, energetic, and comfortable as well as bit sophisticated…it ticks a few boxes that people are looking for."
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His first collection for men and women shows a broad use of shapes and figures reflective of the hard-edged abstraction characteristic of the late '50s and early '60s (think Bridget Riley). "I find that geometric patterns are more aesthetically pleasing in motion," Saunders says. Rooted in the artistic tradition, Saunders manipulates these forms to great effect, creating the illusion of movement with trompe l'oeil patterns in bright colorways in a range of pieces, from knitwear to rompers and accessories. "This season, like the rest of my work, is about complementing geometry and giving it fresh energy," he says.
Despite the vibrancy, David David delivers serious fashion rendered with the precision of a master craftsman. "I start my research with two heads; my art head and my design head. Then they chat. The design process and the print process begin to collide. There is a wedding, we have cake, and then there is a bit of dance. But the courting is where things come together," he says.
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Joining the likes of Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll, and Marios Schwab with his recent induction into the Fashion East camp, Saunders couldn't be better poised for fashion greatness. But for him, the other stuff is a bit more important. "You want people to enjoy your work," he says. "Or at least, just take a peek."
David David is available at Seven New York.
Designer David Saunders looks on the bright side.
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