It was an inspired follow-up. Our excitement with the debut output of Lucie and Luke Meier for Jil Sander was obvious. In their sophomore outing, the Meiers held us spellbound. Again. It was a collection that kept to some of the Jil Sander codes, but yet eschewed thoughtless two-pieces-of-oblongs minimalism trend of the past years for ideas and details that enhanced the duo’s concept of what is comfortable clothing. Comfort, it seemed, had to do with padding, wrapping, insulation, and the spaces between. We wanted to immediately slip into the coats, the dresses, the pants, and feel the fabrics against our skin. This is tactile and aesthetic high, even in front of a tablet screen.
So much of Italian fashion these days have been wanking around weirdness, circumventing comprehension, and dodging discernment that what the Meiers proposed was a veritable feast for the eyes, more so since dress excess has not reached a tipping point. These were immensely desirable clothes in as much as themselves as the feelings they arose. They stood out: we wanted that and that and that… and that, to be sure, was a good feeling.
We sought out the contours and the textures; we wanted to be coddled by the clothes, never mind if the chance of wearing so many of the pieces would be slim when September comes. The Meiers were unapologetic in their pursuit of supreme comfort, a quality we seem to have abandoned in favour of the outrageous and the overwrought. They’ve put comfort centre-catwalk and it beckoned. The clothes looked like bedding transmogrified, blankets re-purposed, and, as Linus van Pelt knows, in them, there isn’t just comfort to be had, there is security, too.
While augmenting the idea of palpable comfort with models carrying what appeared to be folded duvets (but could be oversized clutches) might seem a tad ridiculous, we did find the belted wraps worn by the guys somewhat intriguing. Could they be some kind of side-way, underarm capes? Less effective was the quilt used as a sort of obi belt. You’d have to have to be encased in a corset to look good in it, or be very, very thin.
Something else the Meiers brought back that we, too, thought was alluring: asymmetry. The knitwear sat askew across the neck, across the bodice, across the hips; a dress sported, on one side, rows of what appeared to be darts, but looked like gills; and tulip skirts puffed like slightly deflated lanterns. Under all that comfort was visual discomfort, orderliness disorderliness. The sum effect of comfort need not be perfect or uniform. Comfort can afford creases, folds, and rumples. With them, we’re more comfortable.
In terms of references, there was a hint of Orientalism. Nothing Sino-centric, just Chinese blanket prints visualised on coats and skirts, tunic-like shapes that hinted at Manchurian robes, arm bands that could be the contemporary cousins of those used in Red China, and a shirt opening that followed the meander and direction of the qipao. These were allowed European winds to warp their providence. Obviousness is not a modern trait, evocation is. And Lucie and Luke Meier have certainly evoked something in Jil Sander.
Photos: Jil Sander