London - Jonathan Saunders has stepped down from his role as Chief Creative Officer at DVF with immediate effect. His exit comes days after Diane von Furstenberg confirmed she was seeking out an internal investor to take a stake in the fashion company.
Saunders first joined the fashion company in May 2016, after closing his eponymous label at the end of 2015. He was in charge of DVF's overall creative direction, including product design, store design, website layout in addition to developing a new brand identity for DVF.
Jonathan Saunders exits role at DVF
“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,” Saunders said in a statement to WWD.
The Scottish designer's final collection for DVF will be pre-fall 2018, shown earlier this month. “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,” added von Furstenberg.
Saunders was the first-ever CCO and planned successor at DVF, and was given full creative license across the brand, including overseeing its advertising and marketing campaigns. At the time of his appointment, von Furstenberg stressed that Saunders new role at DVF helped facilitate her moving away from the daily duties linked to the role of a creative director, giving her more time to focus on her philanthropic work as well as her role as chair of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
DVF has yet to reveal if it has begun its search for a successor. Saunders sudden departure from the New York-based fashion brand comes as it faces a number of challenges concerning its position in department stores. The label has been operating without a Chief Executive Officer since November 2016, with former CEO Paolo Riva left the brand. Von Furstenberg stressed that her family would become more involved with the business at the time.
Saunders departure comes as DVF seeks out a new investor. Its founder previously hired Michel Dyens & Co, a leading independent investment banking firm, to explore future options as she seeks out an investor to help attract leadership to ensure DVF becomes disruptive in the digital world and "create a real legacy brand."
FashionUnited has contacted DVF for further commentary.
Photo: Jonathan Saunders SS16 © Catwalkpictures.com