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Fashion meets art: Jonathan Saunders inspired by Anthony Caro

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Caro, as a sculptor, was so hands on with what he did. Anybody that is so manual with what they do, and physical, is an inspiration to me. When I first saw a lot of the work that he had done what struck me about him was his use of materials, firstly, the use of colour. This piece in particular, I think the scale of it, and the way that it almost looks like an abstract life drawing shows how you can use graphic shapes in conjunction with a body, for example and frame the body with how you make a garment, can be seen in the same way. Positioning of a print design on a three-dimensional form is why I find sculpture so easy to relate to because you’re taking something that is a balance of colour, you’re taking something that is quite flat and you’re putting it on somebody and then having to wear it. And it’s automatically, it becomes a very different thing. You can imagine him as an artist, you know, the physical work that was involved in making what he did which are unexpected and strange and mix something that feels quite man-made with something that feels quite inspired by nature. Although this is a very heavy object, I think that the balance of it and how it does feel almost that you could pick it up with your two fingers sometimes I think that that’s an amazing achievement and could connect quite directly with what I’m working on at the moment. And you can see here how, like, what I thought was really interesting about these particular Caro sculptures for example, with how something can be made of industrial materials, but there’s an ergonomic quality to it. Like an example here: you can see the combination of materials and the juxtaposition of two different feelings of texture you know, a traditional floral embroidered on tulle, it’s something that, kind of, signifies antiquity but then we have a panel of, kind of, PVC artificial plastic sewn in. This season of my spring/summer 14 collection is particularly relevant in terms of gaining inspiration from the Tate Britain, in that I’m showing there for the first time and I think for me to show in that space is so exciting and every time I walk into it, I think not only is the work within the Tate Britain an inspiration but the actual space itself. A fashion designer’s career these days is looking so fast everything is about change, and I always jump at the chance to be able to escape a little bit and come to the Tate Britain to look at work that doesn’t have that, kind of, sense of immediacy and that everything has to be done last week.