Designer Jonathan Saunders has been the subject of much industry chatter since late last year: In December, he suddenly announced that he would shutter the eponymous womenswear label he founded in 2003, cuing widespread speculation that he was in the running for the top job at Dior, filling the vacancy left by Raf Simons in October.
However, that rumor was put to rest on Monday when New York-based label Diane von Furstenberg announced that it has hired Saunders as its first-ever chief creative officer, effective immediately. The Scottish designer — who's dressed such illustrious names as Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, Emma Stone, Diane Kruger and Sienna Miller in the past — will be responsible for "the overall creative direction of the brand," and will report to the company's CEO Paolo Riva, who was hired in early 2015.
"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," von Furstenberg said in a statement. "I could not have found a cooler, more intelligent designer and I cannot wait to watch him shine as our chief creative officer."
Aesthetic-wise, this hire is a fitting one, as Saunders is known (and loved) for his fearless use of electric hues, bold graphics and varied textures. Plus, the fact that both Hollywood up-and-comers and women of power alike have chosen his designs for major appearances over the years is a bonus for von Furstenberg, who is trying to find her footing — and stay relevant — in the ever-changing digital age. (Take a look at the label's Instagram- and Snapchat-friendly fashion week presentation for proof.)
We're looking forward to seeing how Saunders's touch impacts future collections — as well as what his hire signifies for von Furstenberg's role at the company. Watch this space.