Jil Sander: “Queen of Less”

An accomplished designer with an illustrious, decades-long career, Jil Sander has always been known for her sharp, feminine silhouettes draped in a refined, minimalist aesthetic.

Jil Sander Carrying Mannequin Outside of her Original Parisian Boutique

Whether it be Bauhaus functionalism or world-renowned engineering, the influence of established German design has helped direct Sander’s inclinations and tastes since her fashion career began.

Born in Germany in 1943, Jil Sander first gained experience in fashion through studying textile design as well as working as an editor for several magazines.

Known as the “Queen of Less,” Sander initially began highlighting minimal design through her own Parisian boutique.

Jil Sander Posing with Mannequin Outside of her Original Parisian Boutique
Jil Sander Styling a Model Inside her Original Parisian Boutique
Portrait via Jochen Blume

Following her storefront, she founded her namesake label featuring designs that went against the grain of the flashy patterns and forms of her contemporaries.

Sander’s signature blazer along with other professional attire eventually gained attention and adoration. Business women looking to express their femininity had found their more formal attire for the workplace.

Jil Sander Dressed in a Women's Suit Working in her Office

As the brand branched out to new regions and expanded into different markets, Jil Sander and her line found more and more success, and in 1999, merged with the Italian design icon, Prada.

Following this partnership, Jil Sander’s relationship with her label became strained and would never recover.

Jil Sander Styling Models at her 1999 Menswear Show
Jil Sander at A/W 1999 Menswear Collection Show via Aldo Fallai

Only a few months after joining Prada, Sander left her company and took a break from her life’s passion.

Remaining a prominent label, Sander continued to return to lead the brand for short periods of time.

Jil Sander Photographed After Returning to her Brand in 2012
Jil Sander returning to the brand in 2012 via Luoxo

In between her absences, other notable designers took charge including Raf Simmons, as well as Lucie and Luke Meier as the current heads of the Jil Sander line.

Portrait of Raf Simmons
Raf Simmons via Peter Lindbergh
Portrait of Lucie and Luke Meier
Lucie and Luke Meier via The New York Times

Although her place within her namesake company has been tumultuous throughout recent memory, the “Queen of Less” and her label have imparted a significant legacy on the fashion industry.

As part of helping popularize the “less-is-more” ethos surrounding minimalist clothing design and making the look of professionalism cool, Sander’s design philosophy and influence still resonate today.

Portrait of Jil Sanders

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