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“There needs to be emotion in beauty”: Jil Sander’s Lucie and Luke Meier on how the fashion industry can become more eco-conscious

For Jil Sander creative directors Lucie and Luke Meier, if SS21 had to be distilled into two words, they would be ‘simplicity’ and ‘quality’. “Women have to deal with many things as they go about their daily lives and have to dress accordingly,” Lucie explains, before unveiling the couple’s latest collection off-schedule via a film on the Jil Sander channels. “We want to create pieces that people will have in their lives for a long time. The idea of simplicity is that everything becomes important—you can’t get away with a bad fabric, detail or imperfect cut.”

While Luke recognises this philosophy “isn’t revolutionary” and they’ve cared about these values for a long time, this season was about “reaffirming them.” And with the world in a seemingly never-ending state of uncertainty, this thread of consistency is more welcome than ever.

The Meier’s meditative SS21 collection — standout pieces include a fluidly tailored overcoat in buttermilk leather, a ripple-effect silk dress in sunflower yellow and slouchy bags cradled under the arm—is telling of the duo’s approach to design. Luke, who is Canadian, Swiss-born Lucie and Hamburg-founder Jil Sander’s adoptive home of Milan may have gone into lockdown midseason, but from a production standpoint, the Meiers had no reason to panic: having worked in advance, they had already completed one round of fittings and selected many of the materials.

Here, the couple tell the story of their collection and share their thoughts on the future of the fashion show and how the industry can reduce its environmental impact.

Designing a collection as a duo must be vastly different to your roles as design director of Supreme, Luke, and your time at Dior, Lucie. Have you developed a working process?
Lucie: “We have a team that’s working on the pre-collection, a team working on the show, and then there’s the men’s team. These collections are one after the other, so it’s continuous. We start a collection with a discussion and then put a brief together for the team.”

Luke: “That first conversation between the two of us, whether it’s about film, photography, art or music, forms the blueprint for the collection—we never throw it together two weeks before the show. Our relationship has been based around this sort of dialogue for more than 15 years, since we met while studying [at Polimoda fashion school in Florence].

“It’s about what feels right; what we’ve done in our three years [at Jil Sander], and whether we want to explore something fresh and different. The conversation then evolves with the team. We don’t like the idea of hierarchies—it’s not a modern way of working.”

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