Jil Sander Pre-Fall 2023

The mood Luke and Lucie Meier were after for pre-fall was that of “couture mixed with a sportier feel.” they said. “We like the attitude of elevated functionality, without compromising on interesting volumes and high-quality fabrics and execution.” A clear message indeed, one which they explored in their spring show.

The Meiers are inquisitive, soul-searching designers, and questioning their practice is part of the equation. Highlighting the ‘opposites attract’ tension intrinsic to their aesthetic, they asked, “how do you make things that feel very immediate, fresh-feeling, and modern but also have this inherent couture rigor of technique and shape?”

The dynamic between precision and glamour, or utility and sensuality played out throughout the collection, with silhouettes alternating between the voluminous and airy, and the slender and close to the body. Classic couture volumes like the cape, the balloon dress, and the opera coat were given a sporty twist and a comforting feel of ease through the counterintuitive use of high-end fabrics. A cape dress was made in thick jersey; a poufy floral-printed and pleated-plastron minidress was cut from papery recycled polyester. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a slender silhouette conveyed a more athletic, agile language in long silk ribbed knit dresses with racerback tops.

Remarkable examples of their obsession with the hand-feel of materials were in evidence throughout. A fringed backless top in hand-knitted open-stitch with geometric motifs looked rather striking, as did both a sinuous ivory slip dress with embroidered ajour details and an asymmetrical floral-patterned guipure skirt. On a similar note, four different fabrics were cut into petal-shaped feathers, and then applied decoratively over a miniskirt and a sleeveless top. The effect was both light and luxurious.

“Precious in a simple way,” was how the designers’ summarized the allure of the collection. Talking about luxury, whose meaning often eludes description, the Meiers have a strong opinion. “You want people to feel that there’s time and real consideration put into each piece we do, there’s a thinking, a respect, and appreciation for the level of craftsmanship, because skill requires time, you cannot have an amazing embroidery without the time to learn how to do it properly. This reflects our idea of luxury, which is time really.”

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