If History Repeats Itself at Jil Sander, Big Changes Are In Store

Perhaps never before has a designer twice returned to her namesake label, as Jil Sander now has. Which means, if history repeats itself, we have more to prognosticate with than a Shirley Bassey song.

The first time Sander, 68, returned to the label, she replaced Milan Vukmirovic, a former Gucci designer hired by Prada Group, which in 2002 had a controlling 75% stake in Jil Sander. But Vukmirovic’s tenure was met with mixed reviews at best. When he was ousted upon Sander’s much-applauded return in 2003, she revamped his last men’s collection and canceled the ad campaign—radical moves by any measure. She also redesigned the boutiques and reportedly examined the books—reinforcing her reputation as a perfectionist, some might say control freak—before resigning again in 2004.

With her second return announced just over two weeks ago, it remains to be seen what Jil Sander will do in her third incarnation at the 45-year-old house, now owned by the Japan-based Onward Holdings. Fashion’s chattering classes, however, anticipate she’ll indeed repeat history and either revamp or even cease production of Raf Simons’ moving final collection, fall 2012, save for the pieces available for pre-order in Jil Sander’s e-shop. It’s also thought she’ll cancel the ad campaign, which would be a shame, considering how well the current spring campaign has been received. In fact, we’re told she’s already begun work on the spring 2013 collection. As Shirley Bassey crooned, “Whatever may come, the world keeps revolving.”

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