Jonathan Saunders Announces His Resignation and Will Shut Down Label

Cue the speculation that he's headed to Dior.
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Maria Bobila
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Cue the speculation that he's headed to Dior.
Jonathan Saunders at his spring 2016 runway show during London Fashion Week. Photo: Imaxtree

Jonathan Saunders at his spring 2016 runway show during London Fashion Week. Photo: Imaxtree

Glasgow-born, London-based designer Jonathan Saunders announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down from his role as creative director of his eponymous label for personal reasons, and that the brand will cease operations. The decision to "wind the company down," as noted in an official statement, comes from both Saunders and his investor Eiesha Bharti Pasricha, who hired the label's first CEO in July. The company will continue to honor and fulfill orders placed on its most recent collection for spring 2016.

"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. "Eiesha has not only been a fantastic partner over the last year but an incredible support and we remain close. I am very thankful for all of the friends that I have across the industry, and I look forward to working with everyone again soon on future creative projects."

Before starting his own line in 2003, Saunders studied at the Glasgow School of Art and Central Saint Martins and worked with Alexander McQueen. His namesake label garnered such accolades as a Fashion Enterprise Award at the British Fashion Awards, a Fashion Forward sponsorship from the British Fashion Council and a BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award. The brand has also been a top choice for celebrity public and red carpet appearances, with an impressive list of supporters that includes Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, Carey Mulligan, Rachel Bilson and Lady Gaga. London Fashion Week attendees looked forward to Saunders's collections each season, especially to see the designer's expertise in prints, color and texture, which have earned him consulting roles for Phoebe Philo at Chloé, Paul Smith and Christian Lacroix at Pucci.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting one of the most talented British designers of our times," said Pasricha. "Our decision to part ways was not easy and I wish Jonathan every success for the future."

Although Pasricha will continue to lead the business front for London-based womenswear designer Roksanda Ilincic (who took the Indian heiress and businesswoman on as an investor back in June 2014), not much has been said for what Saunders plans to do next. Of course, the rumor mill is already starting to swirl that he could be in the running for the open position at Dior. "Maybe," tweeted fashion blogger Bryan Boy, who claims that LVMH is already interviewing prospects for the creative director role. We'll be closely watching to see how this round of designer musical chairs plays out as Fashion Month approaches in February.

Homepage photo: Imaxtree