TITLE: Head designer and partner.
COMPANY: Jil Sander
NOMINATED FOR: Sander returned to the company that bears her name in February, following a series of several rapid-fire developments in the midst of Milan Fashion Week. Parent company Onward Holdings Co. Ltd. and its European subsidiary Gibò Co. SpA said Sander was coming back as creative director one day after the announcement that Raf Simons, tapped in that position back in 2005, would be leaving following the fall 2012 show in Milan that weekend — a show that ended with a standing ovation and with Simons, as well as many attendees, in tears. The Belgian designer’s last collection for the brand was a triumph and left many industry watchers scratching their heads about his sudden, and unceremonious, departure. After an eight-year absence, Sander showed her first collection in June for men’s, returning to purism and plying her signature minimalist tailoring for a crisp, graphic and youthful collection. In September, she presented an utterly modern women’s collection.
Sander, who founded her namesake house in Hamburg in 1968, sold 75 percent of her company to Prada Group in 1999, and made a highly publicized exit a year later after clashing with hard-charging Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli. She was succeeded by Milan Vukmirovic, who did sporty disco flash until Sander returned in May 2003, only to split again 18 months later. Change Capital Partners acquired the brand from Prada in February 2006, and flipped it to Onward two years later.