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Jonathan Saunders is leaving his role as chief creative officer at DVF

It has been a rollercoaster few years for Jonathan Saunders. Think back to this time two years ago December 2015, and Saunders was announcing that his label was to close. Fast forward to May 2016 and his appointment to DVF dominated the fashion press headlines. It seemed like the perfect fashion match: Saunders, known for his powerful prints and his deft use of colour, joining a label equally at home with print and colour. He relocated from London to New York and followed news of his appointment with well received collections, and even a new logo for the brand. It seemed as if this was the beginning of a new successful chapter for the brand that some feared had had its heyday in the 1970s with the iconic wrap dress.

But today the Business of Fashion exclusively announced that Saunders is leaving his role. Talking about the decision, Saunders said: “I am grateful for Diane’s support and for the opportunity of guiding this iconic brand. I am so proud of everything we have accomplished in the past 18 months. I thank the incredible team for their dedication and support, and will continue to be a friend and admirer of the brand.” The BOF article also revealed that Diane von Furstenberg plans to sell a stake in her company.

Commenting on the announcement said von Furstenberg: “I am so thankful for Jonathan’s beautiful work and the effort and dedication he has put into DVF in the last 18 months. He will leave an important and lasting heritage to the brand.”

So what does this mean for the fashion industry, with another top level creative leaving again just before the holidays?

“The days of the long term creative director seem to be numbered,” said WGSN’s Head of Insight, Lorna Hall. “I think a 2-3 year tenure of this type of role will be the norm. I think we’ll see more luxury brands now hire these creatives, who will come in almost like a freelance consultant to set an agenda and leave once it’s in place. It’s a generational thing, I’m not sure we’ll see the likes of Karl Largerfeld again, the new generation of creatives want new challenges, and this reflects work trends in wider society right now,” she adds.

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