A new aesthetic that plays on the arrangement of divergent elements
Lucie and Luke Meier of Jil Sander: “the pandemic has just reaffirmed what we believe”, they said during the presentation of the resort, held at the brand’s showroom in Milan. This tragic situation made people look long and carefully at themselves, their habits, their values. That’s what we did. We really still find that our path is good; our philosophy hasn’t changed. “
The Meiers have built their fashion credentials around almost obsessive care for quality, creating pieces that stand the test of time while being of the moment, with an emphasis on great execution. The human touch of craftsmanship is paramount to their aesthetic. The focus on these codes, and on a style that is a sensitive balance between practicality and fragility, between functionality and femininity, has become even sharper during the lockdown. “We had the time to fine-tune everything,” they explained. “And when we came back, we felt quite strong about the resort edit we’ve done.”
Their overarching conceptual approach hasn’t wavered: “We don’t think that the Jil Sander woman really changes,” they said. “She cares about really good design, beautiful fabrics, pieces that are very well made; all these elements are now becoming more important than ever. People will probably consume less but better; they still want to treat themselves to a beautiful piece.”
There’s always an undercurrent of functionality and practicality to the Meiers’ work on Jil Sander’s signifiers; it probably became a little more prominent than usual for resort. “We were obviously imagining more daily-life than occasion dressing, so certain decisions were made through the lens of what would we need or want in the immediate future,” they said. Yet for the creative duo, the utilitarian is always imbued with a certain poetry, and the functional hides the subtly ornamental. “Sometimes the way garments are constructed—the hand-stitching, the cut, the micro-pleating—becomes beautifully decorative,” they pointed out.
For resort, the designers favored pure silhouettes, together with their flair for style opposites: strong proportions and sensible fabrics; a masculine sharpness of cut and delicate choice of colors. Shapes were kept sculptural but softer than usual; suiting was given a chic modernist feel, as in a sharp-cut masculine blazer in cream wool silk gazar paired with a circle-cut, cone-shaped asymmetrical matching skirt. Contrasting the restraint the designers favor, a comforting, pillowy padded blanket cape in high-shine egg white silk satin with baby blue inserts was thrown languidly over a feminine double-cashmere sleeveless dress, its ankle-grazing circular hem undulating gently.
The emphasis on craft and on folkloric references, reworked through the Meiers’ lens, was well represented in one of the collection’s pièces de résistance: A clean-cut, starch-pleated dress in butter yellow linen inspired by peasant garb was appliquéd on the sleeves with embroidered jacquard inserts, woven by a family in Sardinia with traditional local techniques. It made for a compelling contemporary interpretation of a traditional costume. While the vernacular decorative elements were reduced to modern abstract motifs, they still sensibly connected the dress with its origins and identity. It looked gorgeous and utterly desirable—who says that lockdown has quenched the thirst for a beautiful piece and for a moment of true fashion frisson?