PRESENTED BY DIANE VON FURSTENBERG, AS SEEN IN HARPER’S BAZAAR SINGAPORE MARCH 2017
There have been many milestones in Diane von Furstenberg’s career and life; sometimes separate, but almost always intertwined. None, however, can be more significant than her creation of the iconic wrap dress in 1974. Tied at the waist, the flattering jersey dress not only changed the trajectory of von Furstenberg’s destiny, but also introduced a must-have for women of all ages and sizes to feel sexy and confident in.
Related article: New York Fashion Week: 10 Best Looks From Diane Von Furstenberg
Von Furstenberg’s eponymous brand hit another turning point last year, when the inspirational 70-year-old decided to hand over the responsibility of evolving the wrap dress — and the brand’s fashion vocabulary — to someone else. In a past interview with Harper’s BAZAAR, von Furstenberg expressed the view that her role as a designer is to be a woman’s friend in the closet. “It has to be solution-driven. I would like [whoever takes over] to understand the true spirit of what I want to do,” she explained. “It’s very simple.”
She found that person in Jonathan Saunders.
It’s a combination that has been described by industry watchers as one with the potential to achieve greater things for the brand. After all, Saunders, who shuttered his namesake line before stepping up to the role of Chief Creative Officer, is known for his creative use of colours and prints, which also mirrors von Furstenberg’s own preference for the bold and graphic. More importantly, the Scottish designer understands the “effortless, easy and feminine” codes of the American brand, having navigated fashion’s playing field with the same artistic verve. “Those values were so important to hold onto, and were at the forefront of my mind when designing the collection,” he tells BAZAAR.
Saunders spent no time rebooting Diane von Furstenberg, including coming up with a new logo and monogram to signify the promise of the brand’s future. The clothes were the stars of Saunder’s transformation. In that aspect, he aced the task at hand by melding his voice with von Furstenberg’s signatures.
Related article: New York Fashion Week: 10 Best Looks From Diane Von Furstenberg FW17
The archives, plus von Furstenberg’s own colourful life, informed his revolution. “I wanted the clothes to be provocative,” Saunders said, “Diane is quite a provocative person.” But make no mistake. Saunders’ debut effort wasn’t a by-the-book homage to the brand’s legacy. Instead, he went the “philosophical” track to decipher von Furstenberg’s influence into a power wardrobe that’ll speak to existing fans and a new generation of women alike.
Saunders’ breath of modernity was incredibly sophisticated. He tailored a variety of asymmetrical dresses to razor-sharp precision, then juxtaposed panels of intense hues with patterns and prints that ranged from masculine checks to eye-catching stripes to exquisite sakura blooms. Those, Saunders said, were created in the studio and later applied onto the fabrics through a “non-digital screen-print” process. Hemlines on skirts were kept fluid. Ruffles flowed down sexy tops with the energy of a waterfall.
Of his decision to do away with the traditional catwalk show format, instead choosing to hold showroom appointments to personally walk select groups of editors through his thought process, Saunders explained: “I didn’t want an over-the-top show to shroud the hard work and effort we put into the designs. The intimate setting and presentation of the clothes just felt more real.”
Keeping it real is what endeared von Furstenberg and her fashion empire to women for the past four decades and counting. The enticing reality now is that Saunders has offered them even more tools so that they can be the woman they want to be.
Watch the behind-the-scenes video below:
By Gerald Tan
Photographed by Gan
Styled by Windy Aulia
Hair and makeup: Grego
Styling assistant: Shona Menon
Shot at The Presidential Suite, JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach