At least one of the coveted seats in fashion’s game of musical chairs has been claimed. Jil Sander (the brand) confirmed this morning that Jil Sander (the person) will be taking over the company from its current creative director Raf Simons in just a few short days.
The company announced that Simons, who has been the brand’s creative lead since 2005, would be leaving yesterday, and many have speculated that he’s headed for the creative director’s chair at Dior. But Women’s Wear Daily reports that Sander’s return is actually happening. She even has a start date. Simons will present his final collection for the brand in Milan on Saturday, and Sander will move back into her office on Tuesday.
“I am very happy and excited to be back. It feels like coming home after a brief journey,” Sander said.
If you can call an eight-year absence brief, that is. Sander founded the company in 1968, but she left in 1999 after Prada bought a 75 percent stake in her brand and she clashed with her new boss, Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli. She came back in 2003 and did two collections, but her fighting with Bertelli made working there impossible and she left again in 2004.
Since then, the company has been sold twice, and is now owned by the Japanese private equity firm Onward Holdings. While Simons’ work there over the past seven years has always been well received critically, it hasn’t sold as well as the Jil Sander clothes designed by Sander herself. One retailer who hasn’t carried Jil Sander in her store since Sander left told WWD yesterday, “Let’s hope she comes back; we all hope she will return.”
And now she has. What Simons is up to, however, remains a mystery, but that’s another topic for another post.