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Guest Character Profiles > Saffron Jankievicz Shanyn Asmar

Saffron Jankievicz 2009, 2010
Occupation: Fashion Designer

Having set her sights on a career in fashion, scatty Donna Freedman learnt that renowned designer Saffron Jankievicz was launching her spring line and became determined to attend the show. Having realised that her boyfriend, Ringo Brown, a player with the Erinsborough Dingoes football team, could get them past the security guy, Donna proceeded to try and get close to Saffron, unfortunatley mispronouncing her surname on their first meeting. Devastated, Donna lamented to Ringo about her missed opportunity, listing all the things she'd like to have said to Saffron, unaware that the woman herself was behind her, listening. Suddenly willing to listen, Saffron advised Donna to network and be bold, and admired a scarf that Donna was wearing as a belt, having christened it a 'scelt'. Later that evening, Donna convinced Ringo to sneak back into the VIP only fashion show, with Ringo mistaken for a model and dragged off to appear on the catwalk, while Donna pretended to be a waitress, but was horrified to see the show begin and notice her 'scelt' idea on one of the models. Furious, Donna tried to get some recognition for her idea being stolen, but Saffron simply laughed it off as Donna was taken away by security. The next day, Donna went to Saffron's offices with her friend Sunny. Failing to get past security once again, Donna decided to wait, and eventually Saffron arrived. Donna confronted her and, although Saffron was unwilling to admit to stealing her idea, she was impressed by her tenacity, offering her a one week creative observership.

After spending her first morning doing menial tasks, Donna managed to impress Saffron, suggesting her friend, dancer Kate Ramsay, as a replacement when a model dropped out of that evening's fashion show. The evening went well, despite Kate squeezing her already painful feet into small shoes and risking her place at the dance academy. As Donna stayed back to comfort her friend, Saffron's PA Lindsey warned her that, if she didn't go to the after party, Saffron would take it as a personal insult. Donna reluctantly left Kate and went along, but the next day, as Donna helped Saffron with ideas to fix up an uninspiring dress, Saffron confronted her about her reluctance to attend the party, telling her that she'd have to choose between a career in fashion or a cosy life with her friends. Donna insisted that she was committed to fashion and was offered a job with the company, but when Saffron later caught Donna texting Ringo, she angrily told all of her fashion students that she wanted some fresh ideas from them the next day, or they'd be out. Panicking at home that evening, Donna ended up copying a design she'd seen on the internet, and Saffron was delighted when she saw it. Unable to tell her the truth, Donna decided to quit, only for Saffron to turn at the high school to confront her, telling her that they would meet at the bar that night to discuss her future with the company. That evening, Donna finally came clean about her stolen ideas, and Saffron quickly stopped production of the new garment. When Donna pointed out that she'd had stolen her 'scelt' idea, Saffron quickly lowered her voice and told Donna that, although there was no longer a job for her, she could resume her observership. Donna then spent the next few days running around after Saffron, and wagging school in the process, all the time being treated like dirt. But after finally impressing Saffron, Donna was told that she could bring a guest to a fashion show that afternoon, so she decided to ask Ringo, who agreed to go, but was unhappy with the way Saffron was treating his girlfriend.

Already under a great deal of stress, Saffron was creastfallen when designer Chen Li called her new designs 'derivative and uninspired'. Donna overheard and found Saffron in the dressing room in tears, where she admitted that she had never taken criticism very well, and just wished that her designs were famous outside of Melbourne. Donna did her best to comfort her boss, but later, Saffron emerged, having composed herself, and took her anger out on her students, shouting at them all to tidy up. Ringo was furious and tried to get Donna to go home with him, but she said that she had to stay. Later, as Saffron desperately tried to convince some buyers to take on her garments, Donna went over and tried to convince her to go home and relax. Saffron pointed out that Donna was just an employee and was in no position to give advice, and Donna replied that it was no wonder people lost respect for her when she spoke to them like that. Donna then announced that she was quitting, but was stunned when Saffron slapped her and told her that she'd never amount to anything. In shock, Donna hid away for a few days before deciding that Saffron wasn't going to get away with it, and so she reported the assault to the police.

Though the case didn't make it to court, it went to mediation but with no witnesses, it was the word of confident and successful Saffron against Donna. Later, in the toilets, Saffron warned Donna that the Melbourne fashion industry was a small one, and if Donna went through with this, she'd struggle to find anyone to take her on. She also pointed out that she knew about Donna's history with false police claims and stolen cars and would drag it all up unless the mediation stopped. Donna then decided to drop the charges but outside, Ringo saw Saffron snapping at Lindsey, who'd turned up with some samples, and saw a chance to help. He took Lindsey for a coffee and convinced her to speak up about Saffron's behaviour. Back at the mediation, Lindsey arrived and announced that Saffron had once hit her, not to mention similarly abusing many of members of staff. Realising that she'd lost, Saffron was forced to come clean about everything.

The following year, Donna had enrolled on a visual merchandising course at Eden University, but was struggling to be taken seriously, after a sex tape of her and Andrew Robinson had ended up online. After finally having some success with her lecturer, after mentioning that she had invented the shrugalero and it was now in production, Donna's confidence took a nosedive when Saffron appeared as the class's special guest lecturer. Everyone except Donna seemed to enjoy hearing Saffron's words of wisdom, and the group was then assigned a task to create a window display, for that afternoon's session, with Saffron as judge. As they left the room, Sarah, one of the other students, asked Saffron if she took on students for work experience - Saffron quite loudly and deliberately said that she used to, until someone made trouble for her, and the programme had to stop. Having agreed to work in a group with Sarah and two others, Donna was disappointed when, following Saffron's little speech, they dropped her from their group. Donna decided to work on her own, eventually coming up with a display that involved someone wearing fake snakeskin, and some protestors throwing feathers over her, with the slogan 'Fake snake, so real, people will protest'. Saffron was forced to grudgingly announce Donna as the winner, and as the class ended, Donna went over to her, looking for an apology about what she'd said earlier. Saffron refused to give it, and Donna then loudly told her that she just couldn't stand to see anyone else succeed - and that made her the biggest failure of all. As Donna's friends and classmates started to clap, a humiliated Saffron walked away.

Trivia Notes
Click here to read our interview with Shanyn
In 2016, the Saffron fashion label was mentioned again, when Xanthe Canning attempted to launch a modelling career on social media, posting pictures of herself in Saffron outfits. She was soon sent a cease and desist letter, warning her not to associate herself with the brand againbr>

Episodes Featured
5782, 5783, 5788, 5789, 5791, 5792, 5797, 5811, 5812, 5875, 5876

Biography by Steve