jil sander embraces minimalist maximalism

For its SS20 show, the brand celebrated the harmony of opposites through the lens of 60s counter culture.

by Osman Ahmed
19 September 2019, 9:51am

If there was ever a case for less being more, for quality over quantity and for forever-clothes over throwaway fashion, Jil Sander could be considered a pioneer. Minimalism, purity and the concept that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line are all central tenets of the brand. For designers Luke and Lucie Meier, who are now in their third year at the house, there needs to be emotion and warmth, too, which they introduced through several touches of craftiness and a meditation on the “harmony of opposites” in their show at the Accademia di Brera, Milan’s most famous art school.

The opposite of minimalism is maximalism, of course, which the Meiers also explored. They landed on ‘60s psychedelia and the late 19th century art movement Vienna Secession as launching pads for colourful marbled prints — also bringing to mind the luscious detail of Florentine paper and San Francisco counterculture (the show opened to Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”). SS20 also showed trailing raffia embroidery, beaded swallows, prints of nudes and panels of intricate paper guipure lace. That may sound like a lot, but the detail came in elegant small doses as accents on pared-back tailoring, clean shirting and silk dresses.

The idea of simplification and enduring clothes was touched on by Miuccia Prada, at her show earlier in the day, in the context of the sustainable fashion movement. At Jil Sander, the Meiers recognise that although there is always consumer desire for sharp, pared-back clothes in navy and black, they need to have some emotional depth, too. It can’t all just be piles of greyness, like the mountains of pebbles that formed the backdrop for the show. “We wanted to show the humanity, the touch of the hand and the craftsmanship — not just making things flat,” they said last year. This careful consideration of the value of clothes at a time when people are buying them more cautiously is exactly what we need right now.

All photography Mitchell Sams


This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Milan Fashion Week
jil sander
spring/summer 20