Sander and Bertelli: Together Once Again and Ready to Grow

Jil Sander, who made amends with former sparring partner, Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli appears to have attained an almost zenlike sense of calm.

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Sander said she wants to send a clear message to her staff, including the creative team she is still in the process of forming: “We can make mistakes, we can make wrong decisions, but in the end, we can redo it and rethink it and have another chance.”

The designer said she was overcome by the emotion shown to her by the employees she greeted Thursday in the company’s Milan and Hamburg offices. “The reaction at the company of all the people, even the people I don’t know, everybody is very energized,” she said.

She was fairly tight-lipped on her opinions regarding outgoing designer Milan Vukmirovic and just what it felt like to watch someone else designing a collection bearing her own name.

“I think it’s very courageous to work on a line like Jil Sander. And we have to say that it’s very natural that if someone else works on a line it will be different. And I’m not here to criticize.”

Still, it’s clear Sander feels the house’s transition will require plenty of work.

“I felt very energetic to go back and to straighten everything out. Mr. Bertelli and I had a lot of time to communicate and discuss strategies and the positioning of the Jil Sander brand,” said Sander, alluding to confirm reports that she and Bertelli had been in talks about her possible return to the label almost since the day she left. “So we’re very optimistic that we can work in a very good way for the future.”

The future also means coming to grips with a world that has changed dramatically since the late Nineties, when Sander and her minimalist tailored pieces reached their peak in popularity.

“Time goes by. That’s also the soul of fashion,” said Sander. “You always have to understand the time you are in.”

Still, she said simplicity and pure design could be just what consumers need in a post-9/11 world of multiplying complexities, as the threat of terrorist attacks looms and unease grows.

“I think pure design is something more. It exists out of time…it means saying ‘this much I can take away because I don’t need to overdesign and complicate design.’ Design is almost thought. Design is energy. Design has material qualities and proportions. I think that a Jil Sander design was always very innovative, very modern, very sophisticated.
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