The current issue of Blend includes a fabulous fashion feature that epitomises the title’s rather conceptual approach to fashion. As befits an issue entitled ‘The Modern Minimalist’, it showcases a substantial feature devoted to Jil Sander.
Jil Sander’s story is unique in fashion, one of the few examples of a striving German designer to, eventually, achieve international recognition for her very specific minimal signature style. Her pared down stark silhouettes and sumptuous fabrics almost always used as solid blocks of single colour were entirely in keeping with the spirit of hip Hamburg at the beginning of the 1970’s where Sander had opened her own boutique in 1967 selling the clothes of, amongst others, Thiery Mugler and Sonia Rykiel. Gradually Sanders’ own designs demanded more and more attention from local sophisticated shoppers. But, to some extent, it was a matter of local sensibility, not dissimilar to the experience of Mary Quant or Jean Muir in London, with whom Sanders has sometimes been compared, not only aesthetically, but also because of a kind of powerful personal vision of style that refused to accept the dictates of the usual centres of fashion.
Paris, as one of those centres did not always share local enthusiasm. It proved extremely vicious when Jil Sander first showed there in the mid-1970’s and it wasn’t until the 1990’s that the critical mass of her international cult following finally won over the French.
Jil Sander herself finally retired from designing for the label that she had so meticulously and steadfastly built into an international symbol of tasteful restrained luxury in 2004 after ongoing differences with the management of the brand by the Prada Group which had bought a controlling share at the end of the 1990’s. However, even if there were those that had suspected that Jil Sander’s personal absence from the creative direction of the company would see it decline, nothing could be further from the truth. The appointment of Raf Simons to the role of design supremo was one of those true fashion successes that have matched ethos and creative to ensure a seamless transition in maintaining the brand’s impeccable reputation.
The fashion feature ‘ Minimalism Maximalism’ in the current issue of Blend that correlates to the striking cover is devoted exclusively to Jil Sander’s SS 11 collection. Highly conceptual, elaborating a concept by Joff & Laurenz Brunner and shot by Tomas Näsström, it’s a thing of stark beauty indeed. Imbuing itself with the spirit of both Jil Sander and minimalism – this really is a case of “less is more”- it wordlessly elaborates thematics that even those who hadn’t thought about such things before should grasp.
To say too much about it is to ruin the surprise. Suffice to say that this story alone is one damn good reason to buy the issue.