Jil Sander’s dedication to Japanese denim in Milan
Increasingly, brands are using their boutiques as places to physicalise the art or design elements which inspire their work. Take Delvaux’s 2018 flagship space in Brussels which has been envisaged as an art gallery, hanging with 20th century arworks, or Loewe’s Mayfair flagship in London, which opened in April and houses the Madrid house’s eclectic art and design collection, boasting a bulging blown glass table by Anthea Hamilton and a pastel-tone mural by Giorgio Griffa. Earlier this month, The Row opened its first European flagship also in Mayfair, brimming with expertly curated and purchasable design objects by the likes of Charlotte Perriand and Corbusier.
Since taking the reigns of Jil Sander in 2017, Lucie and Luke Meier have bolstered the artisanal elements of their vision for the house with architectural and artistic collaborations, from a John Pawson-designed flagship in Tokyo’s Omotesando, to a living installation collaboration at the brand’s Milan HQ with artist Linda Tegg during 2019’s Salone del Mobile. Last month it was announced that the duo would use Jil Sander’s Via Saint Andrea store in Milan as a site of temporary installations and exhibitions, complementing the fashion pieces housed in its Via Pietro Verri flagship.
‘We have many different items that’s aren’t part of the runway or the campaigns that we really wanted to show,’ the Meiers explain. For the site’s launch, they installed bulging sculptures formed from padded down inflation, in a nod to their own fascination with architectural, buoyant silhouettes.
Fabrication is a long term interest of the duo. Just take the label’s S/S 2020 women’s collection which featured fronds of raffia and paper, beading and elaborate intarsia. Today Jil Sander debuts its second installation, one dedicated to Japanese denim – the country is often argued to be the leading manufacturer of the durable fabric. In a theatrical turn, long curtains of dark denim line the Via Sant’Andrea space, and tubular strip lighting illuminates a range of unisex denim styles, plus men’s denim shirts and women’s shirt dresses.
‘The space offers the chance to be exploratory’, add the Meiers. We can’t wait to see what they examine next. §