In the wake of Raf Simons’ departure from Dior and Alber Elbaz’s more acrimonious exit from Lanvin, Jonathan Saunders has announced his resignation as creative director of his eponymous label, effectively closing it after twelve years. Like Simons, in a statement the London-based Scottish designer cited “personal reasons” for the decision. The company will honor orders from the most recent collection, spring 2016, shown at London Fashion Week in September.
Saunders has had a particularly stellar trajectory. Upon receiving his BA from the Glasgow School of Art, then his MA from Central Saint Martins, he began assisting Alexander McQueen, followed by Christian Lacroix at Pucci and Phoebe Philo at Chloé. A master of prints, Saunders embarked on his namesake label in 2003 and garnered immediate critical praise. British Vogue featured him on the cover a year later and he dressed everyone from Madonna to Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga to Kate Middleton.
While personal reasons may be the immediate cause, it’s thought that the industry’s accelerating pace is at the root of the decision. It does not appear that Saunders is currently in the running to helm a larger brand, but of course that could change in an instant, and speculation is already rife. In the meantime, he says, “I am very thankful for all of the friends that I have across the industry. I look forward to working with everyone again soon on future creative projects.”