They call Jil Sander The Queen of Less. The world is in love with the minimalism that she introduces into high fashion and makes popular subsequently. Her fifty-year career has been based on ups and downs, while she herself has walked a long and painful way, managing to cultivate a unique taste. A taste that dictates international fashion rules and one that educates. Instead of the word ‘minimalism’, Jil Sander prefers the even simpler definition, which is exempt from any unnecessary additions, pure design. Because, according to her, minimalism could be quite empty, while purity – meaningful and in an immaculate form.
She inherits the love for fashion from her mother and she learns to sew because of the grinding poverty that she and her family are exposed to. The state of being at war is the reason for Jil’s imagination not to stop working and she learns to make clothes with whatever materials are available. From a very early age she is an avid fan of trousers and claims that she has always adored them. The pure silhouettes could be noticed even in her first drawings at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, where her career as an illustrator starts. Later on, she becomes an editor for Petra Magazine (while she is still 21), and at the age of 24 she opens her first studio. But she does not enjoy a particular type of popularity even after her show in Paris. Years later, the French fashion consultant Jean-Jacques Picart remembers that at that time Jil and her work were too innovative. That she, like a genuine visionary, is well ahead of her time.
The 90s are her time, when Prada, and not just a random company, buy 70 percent of her shares. This is how the long beginning starts. Of the end that is about to come. After a series of vicissitudes and several returns to the company that bears her name, Sander resigns officially in 2013 and she starts work for another favourite brand of ours – Uniqlo.
She is the woman who wants to ban leggings and spread good design all over the world. She insists that no matter what happens, she always stays true to herself. She would be doing architecture if fashion design hadn’t stolen her heart. She loves creating, accompanied by Bach’s masterpieces, and believes that harmony is the most important component both in life and in an outfit. Because the thing that we could call true mastery is the ability to make all the details work and live in synchronicity. Something which is true both for life and for love. And Ms Jil Sander is definitely a master here!
Text: Tea Denolyubova
Photos: Jil Sander