Jonathan Saunders is a Scottish fashion designer known for his skill at print and his compelling use of colour. In May 2016 Diane Von Furstenberg Studio LLC announced that he would be joining the American accessible luxury brand as a chief creative officer. In this newly created position, Saunders will be responsible for the overall creative direction of the brand and he will report to chief executive Paolo Riva, who told press in a statement that Saunders "will evolve the identity of DVF."
"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," said Diane von Furstenberg , founder and chairwoman of Diane von Furstenberg Studio, LLC. "I could not have found a cooler, more intelligent designer and I cannot wait to watch him shine as our chief creative officer."
Saunders graduated from Central Saint Martin’s MA programme in printed textiles in 2002. His graduate collection won him the Lancôme Colour Award and immediately brought him to the attention of British fashion editors.
Saunders went on to gain experience with some of fashion’s modern greats, working with Alexander McQueen, Christian Lacroix at Pucci and Phoebe Philo at Chloé, an experience he told the British Fashion Council enabled him to learn invaluable lessons on “how to turn ideas into real product and the complexity of our timing schedules within the fashion industry.” McQueen commissioned Saunders to design prints for his line two days after Saunders showed his graduate collection. It was Saunders who design the widely lauded and much photographed Alexander McQueen Bird-of-Paradise prints.
He launched his line in London Fashion Week in 2003, to immediate critical acclaim. His debut collection was given the accolade of a British Vogue cover in January 2004. Saunders has returned to showing at London Fashion Week, having briefly relocated to New York Fashion Week in 2010.
Saunders collaborates with British retailer Debenhams, and has collaborated with Target and Topshop. He continues to work as a consultant for some of fashion’s biggest names and houses.
In 2016 Jonathan Saunders closed his eponymous line, following the designer’s decision to step down as creative director for ‘personal reasons,’ according to a statement issued by the company this morning. The label was thought to be facing financial difficulty for a number of season prior to the announcement, but raised investment from Eiesha Bharti Pasricha, a 31-year-old Indian businesswoman who also holds a stake in Roksanda, in January 2015. “It is not a decision that I take lightly and I am eternally grateful to my team for all their hard work and dedication,” said Saunders at the time.