Style & Fashion

New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week reviews: DVF

The Daily Beast

February 13, 2017

As Jonathan Saunders, the chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, was wearing one of New York Fashion Week’s ubiquitous pink pro-Planned Parenthood badges it seemed reasonable to ask how political he felt the week felt to him.

“No. No politics,” Saunders’s handler said. The handsome Saunders himself looked pained.

Saunders was standing just to the left of a group of models sitting and standing, wearing his third collection since taking creative charge of the label in the middle of last year. A New York Times article made the persuasive case that his efforts to redesign and reconceptualize the DVF image, from the template set down by its same-name founder (married to Barry Diller, chairman of IAC, which owns the Daily Beast) had been one of skill and stealth, with none of the visible fallouts and drama that have characterized other handings-over-of-reins.

Had it been intimidating taking on the label? “Not at all, no,” Saunders, who is originally from Glasgow, Scotland, told The Daily Beast. “I think the brand has a lot of identifiable features about it that kind of make you believe in it.

“It is a believable brand with believable ethos, founded by a woman who believed in creating beautiful clothes that had creativity at their core. This wasn’t solution dressing—plain black dresses—but about mixing bold colors and prints together but still remaining sensual and feminine. Having those tools to work with makes it an easy brand to work on.”

Sunday’s show was set in Sean Kelly’s art gallery, on a windswept drag of 10th Avenue best described as “keep walking till you hitHell’s Kitchen,” well away from the Fashion Week madness of Clarkson Square.

Guests sipped champagne and chilled water. The models sat on staging blocks, and wore a beautifully tailored clothes that spoke of hippy chic—lots of yellows, oranges and burgundies in layers and swathes—but edged up slightly, and made rockier.

A white skirt with black stripes came with a brown sweater and a candy pink neck-muff. Coats were left loosely hanging, decorated with stripes collar and at the wrist. One covered a red and white geometric-design dress. Leopard print sneaked in subtly to finish off a blue handbag. The boots were mod-sexy: white with gold stripes, or sleek and black with little kerchiefs.

For Saunders, this was an “eclectic mixture of African and Japanese textiles, and that kind of way of girls expressing themselves in an imaginary and creative way. It reminds you of the moment in the 1970s when this brand was founded.”

Saunders said that bias-cut scarves gave outfits the kind of movement that shows why “the eccentricity within the collection is an important, key part of it.”

And on a rainy, grim afternoon in New York, where slate-grey skies and slush lurked outside, his DVF vision proved a sunny, boho blast of paradise.