The biker look that opened the Jil Sander show on Friday night suggested Lucie and Luke Meier had changed gears with their latest coed effort. They paraded an edgier mix of urban attitude and couture accents, injecting some unpredictability into a brand with such a precise identity.
Yet the couple always manages to add a lyrical component into their approach, which is what really sets their tenure at the brand apart. In what they described as “a quite personal” collection, the Meiers reasoned on “why we do what we do” and went down memory lane to the mid- to late ‘90s, a formative period in their journey.
“I was in New York and Lucie was still in Europe. It felt like a really interesting time because you had a real beginning of sharing of things: a lot of information sharing, a lot of cultural mixture and, probably, most predominantly in music,” said Luke Meier backstage. He particularly referenced Björk, whose music was included in the show’s soundtrack, along with some choice LTJ Bukem.
The collection reflected the openness Meier mentioned by blurring boundaries between sportswear and tailoring; natural and synthetic; elongated and voluminous proportions; artisanal and digital embellishments.
Research into materials and techniques impacted the designs, such as sculptural leather pieces with embossed and padded details, or cut in couture-like silhouettes, graphic and especially appealing in rounded and hourglass shapes.
Overall, proportions were elongated and oversize, as seen in the tailored double-faced coats and trousers, which the Meiers updated with zippers to expand their volumes and amplify a sense of ease. Ditto for windbreakers, anoraks and pants in lightweight technical fabrics, which added to the utilitarian vibe and looked great juxtaposed with sartorial coats, fuzzy sweaters with metallic effects and zebra prints. One mohair coat dipped in green fluorescent dye looked terrific and deceived guests with its “synthetic, almost a cotton-candy feeling,” as Meier put it.
The sugary reference was expressed more literally in the graphics of hard candies and cherries that were digitally printed on wool felt tops. They added a cheerful note to the lineup and were intended to evoke the ’90s, when “thinking about the future was a very positive thing, there was a lightness and a kind of enjoyment,” said Meier.
Holding on to that sense of optimism, the designers ended the show on a high note with a series of feminine dresses, including bubble shapes in checkered patterns and more fluid silk ones in floral motifs. The sight of an opulent white cotton dress covered in crushed aluminum flower embroideries and sequins sparked positive thinking faster than meditation.