Coming to Pitti as this season’s guest designers was somewhat of a homecoming for Luke and Lucie Meier, Jil Sander’s creative director duo and husband-and-wife. The two were fellow tenants in the same Florence apartment and both attended the city’s Polimoda fashion school in 2001. Luke (the former head of design at Supreme and co-founder of OAMC) and Lucie (ex-Dior interim creative director) joined Jil Sander in 2017 and have since built up a loyal following of minimalists who favor well-cut tailoring, outerwear, and shirting over the more-is-more aesthetic that has taken over luxury in the past five years.
For their Fall/Winter 2020 show, held between three giant lumps of orange marigolds in the ancient Santa Maria Novella church, they showed leather jackets with robust wool sleeves, airy cotton overcoats and raw-edged silk and Shetland knitwear with fringed scarves and cashmere capes. Like in previous seasons, the collection focussed on the contrasts between masculine and feminine, softness and severity, nature and man-made architecture.
Jil Sander on Men’s FW20
“We really discovered making craft for ourselves during our education here [in Florence], so we wanted to start with craft, the hand-made,” explains Luke after his show. “We wanted it to be about fluidity, so anything that was bigger in volume was made from lighter fabrics. It’s nice that you have layers in our clothes, if you look deeper you’ll find things, it doesn’t always have to be displayed all across the chest.”
“I like the mood [Luke and Lucie] set for the show. Mountains of orange flowers are a warm reminder of Tuscany’s role for the duo and a thank you letter to Pitti’s invitation. The clothes are well-tailored and simplistically pleasing. It’s hard to achieve that balance between banal and elevated. I personally like the fringes and the volume of the collection. The use of silverware on the collars is a highlight.” – Tianwei Zhang, London/China market editor at WWD
“Luke and Lucie presented an ageless and sophisticated collection in simple colorways combined with fringed stoles, high-turned-up pants and chunky boots. I especially like the loose-fit tailoring as well as the embellished coats and jumpers in the finale part.” – Danny Stienen – Senior buyer at Antonioli
Studded Car Coat
Traditional tweed and dry Japanese wool coats took center stage. One of them will put you back a few racks, but you’ll have a traditional tweed or Japanese wool coat from Jil. The best one came in shadow blue with rows of sterling silver pendants embroidered onto it adding texture, and probably another rack.
Oversized Postman Bag
The signature Jil Sander leather handbag is introduced in a new triangular shape, enriched by hand-knotted ropes and crocheted shoulder straps, underlining the importance of the collection’s DIY ethos. “Extreme geometric postman bags,” Lucie calls them.
The biggest luxury is time. And the evidence of time becomes visible through the cut, coloring, and design of a garment. All skills require substantial time to learn, develop and perfect. “It’s important to have that hand-touch,” says Lucie, with a forest-green, suede jacket being the perfect example. A minimalistic bolo-tie in metal echoes of traditional Western and Eastern handcraft, giving a simple garment a Jil Sander signature. According to the Meiers, the Jil Sander man wears jewels; there’s something celebratory about them.
Watercolor, bison-printed shirt
References to nature are a constant in the work of the Meiers. So this season there were vibrant, watercolor animals and high desert flora printed on shirts and on the silk lining of overcoats, the best one being a shirt with an American Bison, the most majestic of prairie creatures. Here it’s worn with a chunky neck warmer in the back and a stylized eagle pendant in the front.
Against popular opinion, hiking boots look good. Add a strong rubber sole to the technical footwear in a variety of color combinations and you’re making an appealing case for the item loved by hiking dads around the world. The Meiers’ Jil Sander is known for their chunky footwear, and these ones, along with the collection’s military boots, will do well next season.