Comeback at 68. The queen of minimalism

... A girl with taste in her 25s sold her “Volkswagen Beetle” and borrowed 200 thousand marks, opened a fashion boutique in Hamburg, which she named after herself. There are probably a lot of similar stories with the same scenario among us. But not every story had a happy end. Jil Sander managed to make her name a brand that is still in trend today.

          Gilles Sander was born on November 27th, 1943 in Hamburg. The future fashion designer began to study the basics of design at the textile industry school in Krefeld. After completing her professional education, she began her career as an editor for the fashion magazines Petra and Constanze. But in 1967, she was tired of being a hired employee, she wanted freedom ... From that day, the story of creating her own brand began.

          Sander launched her first collection in 1973. In the beginning, she was known as the creator of sophisticated, stylish customized clothing. Her collections, with their neutral color palette, with an emphasis on simplicity and comfort of wear, stood out among the bright, multicolored garments worn in the 1980s. The emphasis was on structure and form rather than decoration and ornamentation. Thus, in 1978, Sander founded the eponymous fashion house Jil Sander GmbH. Although her first attempts were unsuccessful. However, she was true to her style. Minimalism did not immediately become popular along with bright images. Nevertheless, she managed to gain recognition from fashion lovers.

          In 1979, Sander not only created clothing, but also set up the production of a line of cosmetics and perfumes. In 1980, Gilles Sander was awarded the Golden Thread as one of the best European designers, and in the same year she was invited to teach a fashion class at the Graduate School of Applied Arts in Vienna, where she succeeded Karl Lagerfeld. In 1983, the designer received a fashion award from Munich, and around the same time she began presenting her collections at Milan Fashion Week, where no German designer had ever been before.

            In 1997, Gilles Sander launched the men's line of the brand, and two years later, in 1999, she sold most of the shares of her company with an annual turnover of 214 million DM to the Prada Group in Milan. According to an agreement with the Italians, after the sale, Sander was to remain with the company as a chairman and creative director of the brand. But fate had its own plans ... Because of the scandal with Patrizio Bertelli, the head of the Prada Group, with whom the German woman did not agree on how to do business, she left the company just four months later. They later reconciled, but she did not last long there.

         Onward Holdings management approached Gilles Sander with a proposal to take the reins of the brand back into their own hands, and the 68-year-old Sander took up the challenge. Her comeback after a 10-year break has been impressive! Over the course of two years, she created three wonderful collections - one-piece, ideally thought-out, no less laconic than in the golden times of minimalism, after which she left her fashion house again in 2012, given her age, it must be forever.

         Luxurious minimalism became a hit not only in the 90s, but to this day the brand is demanded in the fashion world.


Author: Moldir Adamzhan

Translator: Chingiz Smakov

Photo: from open sources

Read more