That didn’t take long.
Diane von Furstenberg said Thursday that Nathan Jenden has been named chief design officer and vice president, creative. He returns to the brand where he worked for 10 years until 2011. In his role, he will oversee all design for the brand.
Jenden takes over duties formerly handled by Jonathan Saunders, who resigned his post as chief creative officer last month.
“It is with joy and pride that I look forward to welcoming Nathan back at DVF. Nathan is an extremely talented and technically skillful designer who also has a great gift at surrounding himself with young, emerging talent. He totally embraces the DVF woman and the brand enjoyed its greatest commercial success during his tenure,” von Furstenberg said.
“The fundamental essence of DVF that Diane created is an identity that has empowered women everywhere, delivering accessible style, confidence, independence and a sense of self-worth. Diane delivers that message not only through fashion, but in her approach to life, her love of art, culture, diversity and philanthropy,” said Jenden.
“I see DVF as being more relevant today than it ever was in its message of self-empowerment while being dynamic and modern. I want to give the DVF girl what she wants when she wants it, and with the joie de vivre and sense of purpose that epitomizes Diane, DVF, the brand and the spirit of women today. And most importantly of all, I want to make great clothes that resonate with women,” he added.
Jenden will report to von Furstenberg and DVF’s board. His first collection will be for fall, and will be shown in February.
Saunders had been in the role since May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories, store design, web site design, a new corporate brand identity and marketing including advertising campaigns. He stepped down from the brand days after von Furstenberg said she plans to sell a stake in her fashion company. She plans to hire Michel Dyens & Co., an independent banking firm, to explore options. As reported, Paula Sutter, former president of DVF Studio from 1999 through 2013, will be joining the company’s board of directors. The company is still in need of a chief executive officer to succeed Paolo Riva, who left in November, 2016.
The London-born Jenden studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art before receiving an apprenticeship with John Galliano. Moving to New York in 1998, he spent three years as design director with Daryl K and then took over the role at DVF. While at DVF, he launched his own label and left to pursue this venture, opening stores in China, Hong Kong and South Korea. Most recently he worked for Global Brands Group as the creative director for Bebe, while also supporting other brands in GBG’s portfolio including Hervé Leger and Juicy Couture.
When Jenden left DVF in 2011, he was succeeded by Yvan Mispelaere, who stayed two and a half years.
In a 2006 interview when Jenden launched his eponymous collection while working at DVF, WWD reported that with Jenden in tow, von Furstenberg reestablished herself in fashion. DVF in turn helped Jenden establish a name for himself in fashion circles by taking him down the runway with her at the end of each show to share the limelight.
“Diane has really taught me so much about life,” Jenden said in the 2006 interview. “She shares a lot of the values I was brought up with. Cultural references have always been very important to Diane, and they are also important to me. She is surrounded by books about art and poetry. She is inspiring.”
At the time, DVF said, “What I like about Nathan is that he is both talented and intelligent. I need to refer to history, to literature, so I need somebody who is talented, intelligent and well-read.”
Robert Burke, chief executive officer of Robert Burke Associates, a consulting firm, said Thursday, “I think he is a very solid, talented designer, and he was involved in DVF when it was really at a high so he completely understands the DNA of the brand and also understands the dynamics of the company. In knowing him and dealing with him, he’s a very personable, likable, level-headed designer. They had a very good run together. The big advantage is there’s no learning curve, and I expect him to hit the ground running.”