MILAN — Could Jil Sander ring in the New Year with not one, but two new creative designers? According to market sources, the fashion company has engaged Lucie and Luke Meier to succeed Rodolfo Paglialunga, but an announcement is not expected until March, after the latter has presented the women’s collection for the label.
Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux respectively headed the spring and fall ready-to-wear and couture studios under Raf Simons at Dior before stepping into the spotlight between the exit of the couturier and the arrival of his successor, Maria Grazia Chiuri. Meier worked in the design studios of Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton earlier in her career. Her husband Luke is the cofounder and designer of men’s label OAMC.
The couple would each bring their expertise working together for Jil Sander, which produces full ranges for women and men. As first reported in November, market sources said the Milan-based house has been in touch with a number of designers, including the Meiers.
Jil Sander is foregoing a men’s runway show this season, opting for a presentation, scheduled on Jan. 14 in Milan.
One source said Lucie Meier has been spotted at Jil Sander in Italy. Another source speculated that Simons, whose seven-year tenure at Jil Sander spanned from 2005 and who now is at Calvin Klein, was the connecting link with Meier.
Paglialunga assumed the design helm at Jil Sander in April 2014 and showed his first collection for the spring 2015 season. After working for Romeo Gigli and Prada, Paglialunga took up the design reins at Vionnet in 2009, which he exited in fall 2011. Paglialunga has received mixed reviews for his Sander collections amid a tough environment for luxury apparel and several changes at major European design houses, with Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, Marni, Carven and Brioni among those making creative shifts last year. The most recent Paris Fashion Week saw debuts at Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Lanvin.
Jil Sander itself has seen its share of turbulence in the design studio, with the founding German designer exiting and returning several times, finally stepping down for good in 2013 from the company she founded in 1968. She had returned for the third time in February 2012 after Simons’ exit. Sander rose to fame in the Eighties and Nineties with her minimalist tailoring crafted from luxurious fabrics.
Prior to that, Milan Vukmirovic plied sporty disco flash for a stint and the brand also went several seasons with its long-standing design team and no star designer taking the bow.