Jil Sander: a new poetic minimalism
Milan had two important debuts this weekend. One of them was at Jil Sander, where the Swiss-Canadian married couple of Luke and Lucie Meier presented their first ideas for the house. Their interpretation: poetic minimalism with an asymmetrical twist.
The Meiers first smart move was changing the show location from the company’s Milan showroom to a magnificent 100 meter long open passage, part of a huge complex designed by the late great Zaha Hadid , an enormous elongated white box topped by a dappled sunset.
Opening with a series of floor sweeping white cotton dresses, the Meiers concentrated on pure forms, carefully ruching and pleating their garments with dexterity. As the show progressed, they introduced more technical fabrics – including tough nylons and materials with memories. Lightweight looks contrasted with leather shoulder harnesses, straps and mini waistcoats.
The show was largely mono-color, except for a finale of loose-weave cashmere sweaters in bold abstract swathes of color. Together with women, they showed men in austere Pacific blue coats; neat prep school suits and elegant smocks.
The poetic voice of Nina Simone, singing "Be My Husband" opened the show in a spiritual mood as the cast of 60 marched solemnly down the lengthy catwalk.
For such a storied classy house, Sander has had a complicated history ever since its founder finally retired in 2005, nearly 40 years after founding the brand in Hamburg. After being bought by the Prada Group, the house eventually ended up in the fashion portfolio of Onward Luxury. Though under Raf Simons’ guidance it did for a time gain critical acclaim, the brand has drifted of late. The Meiers succeeded Rodolfo Paglialunga, who turned Sander into a container of Italian sportswear. The new duo has reasserted the vision of Sander though with a youthful elegiac touch.
“When most people think of Sander they use the word minimalism and think it is very cold. But the more we looked into Sander we saw something far more emotional, very feminine and light. All, in such strong opposition to its powerful tailoring. Those two things together are what we want,” started Luke, before Lucie finished the sentence.
Lucie, along with Serge Ruffieux played the role of substitute designer at Dior, between the departure of Raf Simons and the arrival of Maria Grazia Chiuri. Both Lucie and Serge Ruffieux did such good jobs that they both landed new important positions immediately. Ruffieux makes his debut at Carven next week.
The Meiers certainly got off to a fine start. Now let’s see what Ruffieux can do.
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