He has no problem revealing the full names of his clients -- including Elizabeth Taylor, Candice Bergen and Yasmine Khan -- but he uses only a first name himself: Jonathan. "The world's full of too many names," explained the New York designer, who also wouldn't reveal his age. His clothes, at Harriet Kassman, where he made a personal appearance last week, are very simple, in four-ply silk crepe or cashmere knit. "I don't put baubles on things -- my customers have jewelry." The cashmere knit blazer he introduced more than two years ago is his best seller, in a range of colors for $700. "Women throw it in their suitcase like a sweater."
Jonathan has long hair and usually hides behind sunglasses. "I've always had long hair -- it suits me. Although I dress conservative ladies, I like to walk on the wild side." He had no formal fashion training. In fact, he had a Ford Foundation scholarship to the School of American Ballet, and for a time was in class with Peter Martins, Gelsey Kirkland and Fernando Bujones. "When I knew I wasn't going to be the best," he said, "I decided to try something else."
Private customers visit his atelier at 70th and Park Avenue in New York, which is also where he designs his high-quality clothes for stores. He would not say much about what he has made for Elizabeth Taylor, who he says is now a size 4, except to mention a fur-lined coat. "Elizabeth likes to bargain, but I charged her straight retail," said Jonathan, who would not disclose the price. "I told her I'd like her for my agent. She's an incredible business person, one of the toughest cookies I know."