While the speculation around new designer appointments to major luxury brands in Paris continues to mount, the industry was taken by surprise by the announcement that Diane von Furstenberg had hired Scottish designer Jonathan Saunders to the position of Chief Creative Officer of her legendary brand. Savoir Flair reported back in December that Saunders had chosen to close his namesake label in order to focus on designing products for interiors in collaboration with The Rug Company. However, this new twist puts him back into the fashion field and at the helm of one of America’s most noteworthy brands.
As the CFDA’s new President of the Board of Directors, von Furstenberg was instrumental in calling out the problems of the New York Fashion Week calendar and was responsible for hiring the Boston Consulting Group to analyze and assess them. She was also an early adopter of the “direct to consumer” model and placed a capsule selection from her Fall/Winter 2016 collection straight onto DVF.com for purchase following her show. Von Furstenberg’s strategic moves over the years have not only helped her brand maintain visibility and enjoy healthy sales, but have also acted as a model for how other designers should adapt to the changing retail market. It’s clear that the hiring of Saunders is meant to elevate her brand’s profile even further, especially since she’s bringing in a well-known name with killer design acumen who has previously worked at Chloé and Pucci.
In a statement to the press, von Furstenberg spoke about her decision to hire Saunders, saying, “Jonathan’s extraordinary passion for colors and prints, his effortless designs, and his desire to make women feel beautiful make him the perfect creative force to lead DVF into the future. I could not have found a cooler, more intelligent designer and I cannot wait to watch him shine as our Chief Creative Officer.”