The Designer Couple Revitalising Jil Sander

The husband-and-wife duo Luke and Lucie Meier share the influences behind the brand’s modern, minimalist aesthetic.

Article by Lindsay Talbot

Luke and Lucie Meier met in Florence, Italy, at the Polimoda fashion school: he grew up in Vancouver and was an exchange student from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology; she, a native of the Alpine town of Zermatt, Switzerland, was studying fashion marketing. The two began dating the follow- ing year after taking a summer road trip around Italy and France together, and were married in 2007. As co-creative directors of Jil Sander since 2017, they are one of the rare husband-and-wife teams working in fashion today, but their profes- sional lives weren’t always so intertwined. Luke, 45, served as the creative director of Supreme for eight years before co-founding the menswear label OAMC in 2014, and Lucie, 39, designed at Marc Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and, most recently, Dior.

When the couple arrived at Jil Sander, now based in Milan, the house had been in a state of flux since its eponym, who founded it in Hamburg, in 1968, sold a controlling stake of her company to the Prada Group in 1999. Over the next 14 years, Sander would leave the brand three separate times, allow- ing for several creative directors in between, including the Belgian designer Raf Simons, who worked for the house from 2005 to 2012. But in her prime, during the ’80s and ’90s, Sander built an inarguably strong brand identity, pioneering a kind of uncompromising minimalism that the Meiers still identify with. “My mother frequently wore Jil Sander when I was growing up. Her clothes inspired me to learn more about fashion and design,” Lucie says. Sander’s influence is clear in signatures like puritanically crisp button-down shirtdresses and satisfyingly stiff blazers, and they have added their own sense of modernity, with cosy, cocoon-like capes, floor-sweeping macramé knits and richly embellished layers of couture- grade fabrics and handwork. “For us,” Luke says, “it’s about purity, not minimalism.”


At top: “A portrait of Lucie and me, photographed in December 2020 by Olivier Kervern. Lucie’s wearing Jil Sander, and I’m in OAMC and Jil Sander. We also wear a lot of Comme des Garçons and Supreme.” — Luke

From left: Courtesy of Lucie and Luke Meier; Andrew Pielage; courtesy of Jil Sander.

Left: “Homemade tortelloni with butter and sage at my parents’ restaurant, Zum See. They opened it 36 years ago in Zermatt, where I grew up. It’s set in a small hamlet below the Matterhorn, overlooking the town. My mother and father make their own pasta, bottle their own jams and harvest most of their ingredients from their garden plots.” — Lucie

Center: “With its exceptional acoustics, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Cabaret Theatre, at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Ariz., is among the architect’s many great accomplishments. I went there with my mother several years ago. The Southwest desert is a powerful place, and has a particularly strong energy.” — Luke

Right: “One of our favorite looks from the fall 2020 collection was this lemon yellow mohair silk cape worn over creased wool cuffed trousers. The idea was to imbue the cosiness and intimacy of a hand-knit blanket with the structure and attitude of a sweeping wrapped silhouette.” — Lucie

Courtesy of Luke and Lucie Meier.

Left: “These paper planes were made by Wim Wenders when we collaborated with him on a short-film series for the Jil Sander spring 2018 campaign. We wanted to work with someone who is a true artist. When we started at Jil Sander, we set out to articulate the idea of stepping into a project that has such a strong history but also a need to move forward and evolve.” — Luke

Right: “A mirrored shelf above a fireplace in our apartment in Paris, with an arrangement of chrysanthemums, matthiola and viburnum. The vase is from Astier de Villatte. One of the first things we do when we arrive in Paris is go out and find some fresh flowers. The vibe of the apartment is really wonderful — the flat is classic Haussmannian, but we renovated it four years ago, making it very bright and open.” — Lucie

Courtesy of Lucie and Luke Meier.

Left: “Here’s a snapshot of the Dolomites, where Luke and I went on holiday during the summer of 2018. You can see the two of us in the top right corner. We both love being immersed in nature — and there’s such a magical energy in those mountains: It reminds me a bit of my home in Zermatt, although the landscape is much more green and less aggressive.” — Lucie

Right: “A pair of gold Indian earrings. I bought them in a shop called Sisters’ Antiques by Elena Parmegiani in our neighborhood in Milan, which has a lot of beautiful old jewelry. They have an interesting form and are very light for their size.” — Lucie

Courtesy of Lucie and Luke Meier.

Left: “Part of a collection of ceramic, marble and wooden bowls I’ve accumulated over the years. I bought the green-and-brown marble one while traveling through Sri Lanka, and got the wooden one on the left when Luke and I were in Japan. The other three I made in Paris at a local ceramics studio. We use them all the time, even though they’re quite delicate.” — Lucie

Right: “A platform sandal from spring 2019. We were in Japan a lot the year we designed that collection — I think four times in 2018 — and we saw so many beautiful vintage sandals at small shops in Tokyo and in the countryside. Something about its construction is so pure, and we liked the idea of the wood being raw and untreated. It’s five inches high, but it’s actually rather easy to walk in, as the sole is quite wide.” — Lucie

Left: Courtesy of Shaniqwa Jarvis and Baque Creative Press. Right: Noah Davis’s “Untitled” (2015). © The Estate of Noah Davis, courtesy of the Estate of Noah Davis and David Zwirner.

Left: “Our good friend Shaniqwa Jarvis’s monograph shows her unique photographic approach to portraits, landscapes and objects from her travels, and was published by another good friend of ours, Angelo Baque. Shaniqwa has a way of putting people at ease when she takes their photo — she’s really able to capture people’s spirits.” — Luke

Right: “One of our favorite paintings by Noah Davis. When Lucie and I were living in Paris, we met Noah, his brother, Kahlil, and his father, and ended up spending an afternoon and long evening with them filled with amazing conversation and debate. It was one of those exceptionally inspiring days that I remember very clearly.” — Luke

Left: Courtesy of Lucie and Luke Meier. Right: Rich Kane Photography/Alamy.

Left: “When we were hiking around the Dolomites, we found a woodcarver’s shop in a tiny wooden cabin. He had many exquisite carvings, and we asked him if he would sell us this little angel. Lucie’s parents have two very similar ones over the front door of their house in Switzerland. They’re like guardians.” — Luke

Right: “Allen Iverson was at Georgetown when I was completing my undergrad degree there. Basketball is huge there, of course, and I’ve always found Allen really inspiring because he wears his emotions on his sleeve and gives his all each game. I D.J.ed during college, and Allen actually came to a lot of my parties. I hope he liked the music I played!” — Luke

Courtesy of Lucie and Luke Meier.

Left: “I’m 4 years old in this photo, at home in Zermatt. I always loved this time of year, when the crocuses start to bloom after the long winter.” — Lucie

Right: “Me at age 10 in what was, I guess, my engineering phase — I’m very focused on building a remote control car at my house in Vancouver here. I didn’t grow up around fashion, but skateboarding, snowboarding and music were developing in the Pacific Northwest when I was growing up. When I was a teenager, I became interested in design and was fascinated by the sociological aspect — what made one logo of a skate brand really cool, and why another one didn’t matter, and how branding could be so powerful.” — Luke

Courtesy of Lucie and Luke Meier.

“Photographs of Luke’s and my auras. We had them taken at this place in Manhattan’s Chinatown called Magic Jewelry. Whenever I go alone, my aura is always red, but the first time we went together, we had these complementary purple-and-blue ones.” — Lucie

A version of this article appears in print in our launch edition, Page 74 of T Australia with the headline:
Profile in Style: Lucie and Luke Meier of Jil Sander
Order a copy | Subscribe