Jil Sander: Poetry and punch, berries and brilliance
A spiritual air about the Jil Sander show on Friday night, with guests sat in semi circles in a dark cathedral-like space, only illuminated when the first models appeared.
Poetic, polished and frequently unexpected, the collection was a long way from the minimalism for which Sander is famous. But none the worse for that. Crystal rosettes; hand painted images of fruit; golden boots are not at first sight Frau Sander.
Yet, the very silhouette and line of the collection – especially its exceptional coats, were somehow very true to the aesthetic and DNA of Jil Sander, the most influential German fashion house of the past half century.
Taking their seats, the audience fell into a remarkable silence. None of the usual pre-show chatter, as Alice Coltrane’s The Wisdom Eye played in full. Before the opening chords of a mash-up of several tracks by Björk signalled the beginning of action.
Opening with motorbike jackets that defined the power-shoulders, subtly inflated volume and arty detailing of this collection. Suggesting speed, and a motorbike accelerating away, in a show where the models marched rapidly throughout.
But the heart of the matter was a regiment of coats, parkas and ankle length dresses, in everything from dense cashmere to spongy felt. Voluminous and made in ecru, white and a series of deep pastels, they all looked great. Dramatic, enveloping and somehow very new, in the latest hit collection by husband and wife team Lucie and Luke Meier.
All anchored with chunky sneakers and space-age boots in white again but also silver, gold and flesh. A co-ed show where half the cast wore skull caps – like intergalactic missionaries.
“It started from a conversation about when we decided to become designers in the late 90s. So, it became about mixing different references and cultures – cross pollination in a real way, but with rigor,” explained Luke in the backstage.
“We wanted a really positive feeling as that’s how we felt then. Like when we felt very positive about technology coming into our lives. Even if a little less so now,” smiled Lucie.
Eccentricity was also a key element - hand painted cherries and shells on felt totes of tunics, and bold costume jewelry. Chunky silver bracelets, necklaces, clasps and chokers that looked casually melted and linked together. All the way to the full-on embroidery of the finale, albeit used in the collection’s pure extended shapes.
“Music became a source of fusion for us. Someone like Björk understood the different kinds of culture that meet in music. And how a song can make you think of a certain person. We wanted the clothes to have the same approach,” added Luke.
Even since being given creative control of the house a half decade ago, Lucie and Luke Meier have made Jil Sander into an absolutely must-see show. This was another one.
In effect, at the halfway point of the international fashion season, this was the most original collection seen so far anywhere.