First Look at Jil Sander’s Fall 2024 Collection

MILAN — A sage green carpet was rolled out along the pristine Jil Sander showroom, where arched windows offered a stunning view on the landmark Castello Sforzesco under a gloomy Milanese sky.

On each side of the room, long racks of clothes added to the graphic and tidy set-up that for a moment could null even the outside traffic clamor of a fashion week morning. “There’s a lot of healing to sage. It’s sort of a protective color,” said Luke Meier, revealing that the brand’s fall 2024 collection he codesigned with wife Lucie will be unveiled Saturday in a venue covered in plush carpeting in the hue.

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“We started [approaching the collection] with a feeling of sort of enrobing and enveloping the person. So that’s in the aesthetic and the material choices, the patternmaking, the shaping,” said Meier. “But also in terms of space, which will be oval-shaped, and sound, which is very important for us,” he continued, teasing a live music performance at the show.

The desire for comfort is a natural reaction to the current global turmoil, but the duo is looking to give more stylistic depth to the quest by heightening the tactile quality and intimate dimension of their designs. “The inside is as important as the outside,” said Lucie Meier, best summarizing the couple’s mindset and approach to work.

“We care a lot about the visual and sort of the impact something has, but also that it has a profound fabrication development,” he echoed. “While shows are great, it’s unfortunate that people that are sitting there won’t be able to put their hands on the pieces because there’s so much there.”

For one, chunky cable knits were covered by a wispy, almost evanescent knit net, with layering lending a blurred effect to the piece that was meant to further enhance its softness and cocooning appeal. Padded velvet coats and fuzzy reversible options added to the idea, with the textural expressions culminating in Himalayan goat furs, coats covered in ribbons of cotton voile strips or a cape in extra-long fringed silk yarn carefully crafted to avoid any twisting and knotting.

“Knitwear is something really for the nerds, but it’s quite incredible how technically these pieces are made,” said Lucie Meier, taking out a pink dress that was integrally knitted horizontally, with its graphic, hourglass silhouette and rounded sleeves entirely shaped through machines.

The list of pieces one felt the urge to touch included a series of trenchcoats with pointy collars crafted from soft deer leather with a lived-in effect; capes and vests in quilted viscose that were paired with double-faced wool tailoring for contrast, and statement leather coats that could easily double as inflatable pool floats with their padded look.

In a similar eccentric vein, chain mail fringing details ran down the sides of pants or swished from a tank top, “because it’s always important to give a little bit of a contrast,” said Meier. Matching sculpted hats promised to heighten such an effect on the runway.

Jil Sanders Fall 2024 Preview
Jil Sanders Fall 2024 Preview

Jewelry included leaf-shaped brooches pinned on garments and matching earrings scaled up in their shape to cover the whole ear, as if to telegraph a sense of protection from outside distractions. Cuffs in refined gold brass inside and with a rawer finishing outside had the same mission. “You have the more important side against the body, which is kind of hidden, so it’s a little bit like saying you care about you more than outsiders,” said Luke Meier.

In their seventh year at the creative helm of the OTB Group-owned brand, the Meiers feel their work is on a constant evolutionary trajectory, with them becoming more and more focused on what they want to achieve.

“I think we’re just quicker in certain ways because you learn how to work with certain materials or techniques, and also we know the teams better,” said Luke Meier. “So you can get to an interesting place faster: things get a bit pushed each season a little bit further because we’re able to kind of get to that level faster…and it makes everything kind of more fun because you can get to the more difficult or interesting parts quite immediately.

“But you can only get there through doing things, like we’re only able to do this because we’ve done it seven years, together and with these teams. We would have never been able to get here from the beginning,” he continued. “I think it’s also a bit unfortunate that sometimes designers don’t really get the patience to let them try to do their thing, because maybe [waiting] a little longer [would make a difference].”

If the technical approach is to keep pushing the creative and research envelope forward, the overall mission is to respect the modernity embedded in the brand.

“We care about being modern and we care about being pure with design rather than worrying about too much of this [minimal] stigma that’s attached to the brand. We care a lot about what we think is right rather than worrying too much about the context,” said Meier.

Their focus has had results, since Jil Sander sales rose 17.3 percent last year from 2022. The brand, which OTB Group acquired from Onward Holdings Co. Ltd. in 2021, has also been busy rolling out its own stores. Last year, 18 of the current 64 stores opened in locations including Paris, Rome, Venice, Madrid, Dallas, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Kyoto, Nanjing and Seoul. As reported, earlier this month the brand celebrated the opening of a standalone store in the U.K., while the next flagship opening will be in Tokyo’s Ginza later this year.

“We care a lot about the real-world application of our work, not just to create an image. So in terms of the commercial side, I think what we do should translate. We like to see it out in the world and people wearing our pieces,” said Meier. “But also because we’re two, we can talk to each other about what we think is really interesting. So that’s also helpful to get a very brutally honest opinion.”

Who’s the most brutal in the matter? “Depends on the day, but probably you,” said Lucie, looking at her husband.

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