On the verge of his first anniversary designing the Diane von Furstenberg line, Jonathan Saunders recently came to Houston to show off his spring 2017 collection at Saks Fifth Avenue. Known for his innovative use of pattern and prints, the 39-year-old British designer brings a fresh new perspective on how to push the brand forward while still maintaining the foundations of what has made DVF so iconic since its beginning.
After attending the prestigious Central Saint Martins fashion school in London and working under Alexander McQueen and for fashion houses like Chloe and Pucci, Saunders operated his own womenswear label for more than 12 years. Von Furstenberg became a fan and follower of Saunders ever-evolving play with pattern, prints and texture.
In late 2015, he shut down his own label with plans to return to his love of furniture design, but von Furstenberg came calling with an offer he couldn't refuse.
After a tipsy conversation with “many martinis involved," he recalls, von Furstenberg presented him with an opportunity to become the heir to her brand. The company created the role of chief creative officer just for Saunders who is now responsible for all branding, from the aesthetic of the retail stores to pushing our new product lines and a fresh new logo.
When asked why he was the right fit to take over the creative vision of such a powerful and historical brand, he said, "I think that a person really needs to respect it, appreciate it and have an affinity with what the brand stands for, " he said. "You gotta believe in it."
With the hefty task of incorporating his own vision within the historical brand, Saunders wants to stick with the fundamentals of the DVF clothing that “have personality and individuality but it was also felt easy to wear” while creating a new experience for the customer.
After two seasons of collections that have wowed critics and followers, it is clear that the classic “DVF girl” will not be disappointed in the modern direction the brand is headed under Saunders. "There is so much potential for really creating a lifestyle with the brand," he said.
When asked about his plans for the iconic wrap dress created by von Furstenberg in the 1970s, Saunders emphasized why it remains so popular. “It’s effortless and sensual, easy to take on and off, but there are other silhouettes that can be transferred to that same mindset and I want to explore that," he said.
“It's just beginning, its on only my second season to push out,” Saunders said. "It's an exciting time for the brand right now."
Yes, Mr Saunders, we can hardly wait to see what's next.