There was a monastic air to Luke and Lucie Meier’s debut at Jil Sander, what with the soaring white planes of the spare, open-air show space, the cloudy pink sunset and the clothes themselves, sober and elegant. They were a tribute, in part, to Sander herself, the house’s founder.
The Meiers, who are married and designing together for the first time after pursuing separate fashion careers (she at Dior, he founded the men’s label OAMC), said backstage they wanted to meld their own backgrounds — and personalities — with the DNA of the brand. Over the years it has been interpreted — for better and worse — by the designers Milan Vukmirovic, Raf Simons and, most recently, Rodolfo Paglialunga.
“People think it’s maybe minimalist and kind of cold, but I think if you look carefully at Jil Sander, it’s very soulful, very emotional, very light and very feminine,” said Luke, adding that the latest iteration of the collection would be “toward this kind of duality of very sharp, angular, masculine ideas mixed with feminine lightness and emotion.”
The result of this coed show was uneven. Some women’s pieces exemplified purity and serenity — in particular, the statement shirts and high-waisted dresses, some with delicate smocking — while others tipped into “The Handmaid’s Tale” territory.
The opening looks were jarring in their sobriety: Stark, floor-sweeping shirtdresses had extra-long sleeves and were buttoned straight up to the neck. They were paired with flat, square-toed leather shoes or layered under long navy blue jackets with high slits up the side, all giving off the whiff of a religious cult.
The mood immediately lifted when the shirts — a Sander signature — made their appearance. Oversize and handsome, they had delicately ballooning sleeves, or narrow pleats running down the arms. Some wrap styles fastened at the side with narrow belts.
The Meiers also sent out strong suit shapes, boxy jackets and carrot-shaped trousers cropped above the ankle for him and her.
Coats, too, were beautifully built, especially the powder blue one with its narrow shoulders and curving silhouette, the sort of shape that could spark religious fervor among Sander’s early customers.