Let’s talk about Jil Sander, the iconic German fashion brand. It’s not an easy one as the founder Jil Sander is still very active. Recently, she had a museum show, which was called Präsens – Latin for now – in Frankfurt am Main. Her first solo exhibition consisted of large-scale, multi-media installations devoted to the impact her design had on the surfaces, materials, aesthetics and shape of fashion by exploring architecture, product design and even garden art.

No pieces from any other designer who had worked for the brand were included and we are talking about Milan Vukmirovic, Raf Simons and Rodolfo Paglialunga. Just by choosing the title of the show Sander made sure it was not a retrospective. In fact she took over the entire Museum Angewandte Kunst built by Richard Meier deciding on each shade of color used on the walls to the precise cropping of photos used in the catalogue. While all this was and is happening the young and unassuming Swiss couple Luke and Lucie Meier are the fourth designers post Jil to take a serious stab at reinventing the brand. It must be said. The circumstances could be easier. Yesterday the Meiers proved that their laconic and patient approach to rebuilding the house starts paying off with a technically advanced but deeply human and emotional collection of clothes.

Jil Sander “Präsens” exhibition at the Museum Angewandte Kunst (photo: Museum Angewandte Kunst)

Their strength?

These designers understand that minimalism is not a mathematical formula with tight borders but a feeling for an idea, which can veer in many directions. Their sense of shape and holding the silhouette is very clear but the severeness of the clothes is gone making it feel right for now.

A selection of looks from the Jil Sander SS19 runway collection

The starting point?

They love a uniform because it’s a good place to start and from there they get creative. Luke Meier has extensive experience with military uniforms with his successful men’s label OAMC and by using Japanese fabrics which are stiff and keep their shapes at all times, the short jackets and flowing skirts literally helped the girls to keep in form.

Uniform inspiration behind the Jil Sander SS19 runway collection

The extra touches?

Jil Sander is now a brand on the move just like their customers are. Men’s is shown in Paris and women’s in different locations all over Milan and not in the small showroom that Frau Sander preferred. Yesterday the Meiers found a beautiful old cookie factory with worn tiles and old shrubbery to create a humble but effective set.

ALCOVA, the former panettone factory hosting the Jil Sander SS19 show

Why we loved this show?

There is an effort in the air. They take risks, big risks and they stick to who they are. Footwear was tricky yesterday and the tight, thigh high fabric booties didn’t look good. When clothes can convey this kind of honest message, they can be powerful. With every season more at the helm these guys come to the front.

Lucie and Luke Meier at the finale of the Jil Sander SS19 show