Jil Sander is one of the most influential contemporary fashion designers. The simple and timeless elegance of her designs, together with the high-quality materials and sophisticated cuts gave her the title “Queen of Less.” After all, it’s the restraint and clarity that make Jil Sander’s fashion spectacular. An exhibition of the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) entitled “Jil Sander. Present Tense” is now dedicated to the elegancy of the designer in her fashion and beyond and conveys this to the visitor through multimedia elements.
Down to the smallest detail, the fashion designer herself, in close collaboration with the museum and especially with the museum director Matthias Wagner K, co-designed and implemented the world’s first solo exhibition on her versatile oeuvre in a museum.
On three floors and over 3,000 square meters of exhibition space, almost the entire museum area of the MAK, the visitor is not chronologically guided by the life and work of the fashion designer, but thematically. The exhibition is not a retrospective of Sanders career and the history of the company, neither a retrospective of her collections – time details are completely missing from the exhibits and thus underline the timelessness of Sanders designs. On the contrary, the visitor explores the artist’s complete works, going through rooms on the topics of fashion collections, accessories, cosmetics, fashion photography and campaigns, but also on architecture and garden art. A catwalk, Sanders Atelier and a flagship store were modelled for the exhibition.
Sanders choice for the first exhibition of her work came down to the MAK not without reason. The building by Richard Meier, with its rectilinear and transparent architecture, reflects the clear and reduced aspects of Sanders fashion and forms an ideal setting for the exhibition. Because of the architecture of the MAK and the convincing concept of the museum director Matthias Wagner K, the exhibition came first to Frankfurt and did not go to London, New York or a classical fashion metropolis.
The overall experience “Jil Sander. Present Tense” is musically ‘covered’ by the sound designer Frédéric Sanchez, who already provided the music to Sanders fashion shows, and its restrained, electronic sound. The exhibition is much more than a retrospective of Sander’s fashion; it is a multimedia overall experience, an interplay of architecture, light, film, music, text, photography, fashion and art that brings to visitors the simple elegance of the designer.
The “Jil Sander. Present Tense” exhibition runs until May 6, 2018 in the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Arts.