Rodolfo Paglialunga leaves Jil Sander

There is yet another change in creative leadership at Jil Sander. The German luxury label, acquired in 2008 by Japanese group Onward's European subsidiary, has effectively confirmed widespread rumors that it would end its collaboration with creative director Rodolfo Paglialunga. He designed his last collection for Jil Sander for the AW17/18 season, shown in Milan in February.

Rodolfo Paglialunga at his last Jil Sander show in Milan in February 2017 - © PixelFormula

Word has been rife for the last few weeks about the exit of Paglialunga, who has been in charge of design at Jil Sander since April 2014. The  label has gone through a rough patch in the last few years, and seems to have yet to find the ideal creative director after the Raf Simons era, who oversaw the house between 2005 and 2012, and the brief return to the helm of founder Jil Sander.
According to sources, Paglialunga may well be replaced by the design duo consisting of Lucie and Luke Meier. Lucie Meier was head designer of the haute couture and women's ready-to-wear collections at Christian Dior. Last year she took centre stage as interim creative director of the women's collections, together with Serge Ruffieux (who has since moved to Carven), in the hiatus between the departure of Simons in October 2015 and the arrival of Maria Grazia Chiuri in July 2016. Lucie Meier formerly worked at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton. Her husband Luke Meier is the former chief designer for Supreme, as well as the co-founder and creative director of menswear label OAMC.

As for Paglialunga, he started out at Romeo Gigli in the early 1990s. He then joined Prada, where he worked for over 10 years, eventually becoming design director of the label's ready-to-wear collections, and in 2009 he was appointed creative director at French luxury label Vionnet.

In truth, the house of Jil Sander has never quite found its equilibrium since the departure of its founder in 2000, after she had repeatedly clashed with Patrizio Bertelli, the clan chief of Prada, which had acquired control of the Hamburg-based house the year before. She was immediately replaced by a retailer from Colette, Milan Vukmirovic, then returned for roughly one year in 2003, before departing again to be replaced by Raf Simons. The Belgian designer enjoyed a critically acclaimed period of seven years, even if his most applauded collection was a Christian Dior influenced show, that many regarded as an audition for the position of couturier at Dior, a post he eventually acheived. After Simons left, Sander returned yet again, only to leave for one last time after an 18-month stay to be replaced by Paglialunga. His efforts to reinvent Sander as an Italian sportswear label widely considered a decent effort, but not much more.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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