How designers Luke and Lucie Meier challenge Jil Sander's long-standing purist idealism

"Like carte blanche, with context," says Luke Meier

To the maximalist, a name like Jil Sander — known for stripping fashion of its bells and whistles — prompts the query: How many ways can one skin a cat? To put it into perspective, ask any E.L. James enthusiast the number of shades of grey that exists, and they'll retort 50. Likewise, the Jil Sander devotee is well familiar with the varied virtues of the label's native pared-back functionality.

A host of hands have adopted its phlegmatic disposition from founder Frau Sander. Raf Simons then Rodolfo Paglialunga, each mind marrying its DNA with the German name. Sander a purveyor of the 'normal' (but look closely and discover a keeness for fabric-blocking); Simons an advocate for the severe, intellectual man and refined, feminine woman (not unlike his Dior girls); and Paglialunga, arguably the most experimental of the lot, toying with monochrome prints, baggy proportions and uncontrolled silhouettes.

Now, Luke and Lucie Meier have wasted no time in testing boundaries. The duo, with their judicious hands, have molded Jil Sander in overt detailing through two of their first collections. Possibly more that we've seen from all three of their predecessors. A tough pill for the brand's ultimate purist to swallow? Perhaps. But the Meiers have not forsaken Jil Sander's core appeal.

Ensembles find equilibrium through the strong lines of a coat and sharp pleats of a trouser weighed against a colourful paillete chest piece (look 5). An enlarged, puffy turtleneck kept clean with a classic topcoat sans distraction of a collar and lapels (look 33). The numerous, trailing ribbons on a white shirt reigned in by the rigidity of a structured top-stitched jacket (look 20). For the couple, it's down to the sum of a push and pull. The former, an experiment discovering the polished, Sander reputation in tandem with embellishments, and the latter, a loyalty to the brand's foundation. For resort 2018 and menswear SS18, it's an equation finely balanced — but the game's only just afoot.


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Text: Andrea Sim

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