英文翻译：translated by Jane Yager
中文独家翻译： Agnes Ge.S.J
JS：90年代中期的当时，我对于兴起的波鞋文化非常感兴趣，不过我对于当时球鞋的廉价用料不甚满意。当时我的品牌已经开始在意大利生产自家的球鞋，我们自产的那批球鞋做工精致且款式优雅；是能够用来搭配一件优雅外套的那种球鞋。但当时由于技术的限制，我们无法在意大利的工厂的对球鞋胶底进行硫化。因此我们想，是去找Nike, Adidas, 还是Puma合作呢？最终我们找到了Puma，这三家中规模最小的一个，由此诞生了“King”系列（1996）的联名款球鞋。这款鞋是一款拳击运动鞋，材料上我们选择了手套使用的柔软皮革来包裹出奢华的质感。你很难想象这款鞋一出当时市场的反映，东京的客人们为了购买这款球鞋夜里三点钟开始在Jil Sander店外排队。
JK：在今天，奢侈品牌球鞋占据了一个非常可观的市场。Raf Simons和Adidas合作推出联名球鞋，甚至连Hermes和Louis Vuitton都售卖球鞋。
JK：同时在涉足化妆品领域的设计师品牌中Jil Sander也是非常先人一步的，早在1979年你就推出“Woman Pure”香氛。
JS：我想这也许是展览没有让你看到全部？举例来说，我很早就使用像Naomi Campbell这样的黑人姑娘作为模特，我和她的合作在那个超模年代里一直持续了多年。我个人对于黑人和亚裔的模特没有任何异议。我记得我2012年那一次回归Jil Sander的时候这个议题也被提出来，而在模特选角中这一点我们一直非常留意。不过对我来说真正重要的因素是莫得当代人格魅力，是你看到这个模特的时候从她/他身上感觉到的一种灵气。事实上我一直是凭着这种对魅力和灵气的感觉在选角。
JS：我必须等待。其实Prada的那次收购本来计划中应该是一场合作，以合资的形式展开。绝对不是我等着要出售我的公司出去。那时候Jil Sander有很大的成长空间，特别在配饰领域，而正期求成为像LVMH或者Kering那样的时尚巨头的Prada正是看中这一点。今天，奢侈品牌90%的收入来自眼镜，鞋履，包袋等配饰类产品。而90年代时，Jil Sander有80%的收入来自服装。服装永远是我的重心。企业合资在那个时候是挺流行的一种方式，而正好Prada对Jil Sander提出了合作。最终这个合作没有成功，4个月后我就离开了品牌控制者的位置。这个离开的决定很艰难，但我必须这么做。
JK：在2011年英国版Vogue的一个访问中，你的继任者Raf Simons描述了他第一次——可能也是唯一一次——在Art Basel和你照面的经历。你和他在展览厅中的一个卖热狗的摊位上无意中撞见了彼此。他说你对他非常的友善，而且你看上去心情很不错。他的这个描述和你的记忆吻合吗？
JS：不记得了，因为我并不认识Raf Simons。我也只见过他一次。当然，当你花费了毕生心血去建立一个品牌，正如我，你当然会想了解这个公司是否能继续繁荣，是否能延续持久？当Raf Simons在Jil Sander时，他成功保住了品牌的地位。我也希望着新的设计师们····
JS：对，我希望他们能取得成功，事情能得到好结果。我们和Jil Sander日本的控股公司有着很良好的关系。Jil Sander品牌的管理人员也专程来法兰克福参加了我这次回顾展的开幕。两位新的设计师也一同来了。
JS：艺术表达了一种对于世界的独特看法和个人烙印让我始终保有兴趣。那些Agnes Martin或Cy Twombly的作品中通过笔迹透露的情感，或者Robert Ryman从对单色的深度探索中产生的动人效果，亦或者特纳以画中的光线表现出的气氛。我也欣赏德裔美籍雕塑家Eve Hesse那些糅合了力量和脆弱的作品，更有Richard Serra那些使用沉重金属材料的巨型雕塑作品却展现出的轻盈。
（Agnes Martin, Falling Blue (1963)）
（Cy Twombly, Untitled (New York City), 1968）
（Richard Serra, Inside Out, 2013, Weatherproof steel 158 x 982 x 482 1/2 inches）
JS：刚开始我并不确定是否要将这个花园展示出来。但我想如果用无人机航拍花园会是一个好主意。我和一位叫Norbert Schoerner的摄影师一起制作了这个视频，为的是呈现出和BBC的自然纪录片不一样的形式。这个短片应该时具有一定精神层面和冥想层面意味的。举例来说，我们拍摄了喷泉下的阳光，随后一缕彩虹就出现了。有些向Dicky Mommsen问候的意思吧，虽然她不能亲自来看这次展览了。
Jil Sander （左）和她的伴侣Dicky Mommsen；Photo Credit: Suzy Menkes, British Vogue
英文翻译：translated by Jane Yager
中文独家翻译： Agnes Ge.S.J
Main image: ‘Jil Sander S/S 2005 campaign. Photograph: © David Sims
JK The exhibition contains sneakers from your 1996 collaboration with Puma. At the time, Jil Sander was the first luxury fashion label to partner with a sneaker manufacturer.
JS At the time I was very interested in the new sneaker culture, but I wasn’t happy with the materials. I had already begun producing my own sneakers in Italy that looked sophisticated and elegant; they could be worn together with an elegant coat. At the time we couldn’t vulcanize the soles in Italy due to technical requirements. So then we asked ourselves: do we go to Nike, Adidas or Puma? We went to Puma, the smallest of the three, and with them developed the ‘King’ (1996). These were boxing shoes that we shaped out of very soft glove leather into a form that represented luxury. You can’t imagine the response. In Tokyo people waited in front of the stores at three in the morning.
JK These days, luxury sneakers are a huge market. Raf Simons collaborates with Adidas, and even Hermès and Louis Vuitton sell sneakers…
JS Yes, it was the right moment in time.
JK You sound very modest.
JS It happens repeatedly in fashion that something is invented and you say it was the right place at the right time. The Puma shoe was an answer to the question of how casual that moment actually was. And with the down jackets for my +J line at Uniqlo, the key question was: how can the trend for light down (known as package down), already present at North Face and Patagonia, be picked up in such a way that the jacket still looks refined and not – if I may say so – as camping gear?
JK You also got into designer cosmetics very early on, bringing out your first scent, ‘Woman Pure’, in 1979.
JS It could be said that we did cosmetics in a different way. For example, the little beauty bottle for nail polish: we invented it because the big bottles always dried out so quickly and looked so clunky. Or the small lipsticks. At that time, there was still no stretch in tight jeans, so you had to lie on your back to zip them up. I always said I wanted to keep my lipstick in my jeans.
JK All of these products are actually about mobility too, aren’t they?
JS That’s true. When you translate the kinds of personal needs that you feel and that fit the moment into products, it can be very successful.
JK Is the impression in the exhibition that you did not book models of colour in your shows in the ’90s deceptive? It was the only point in the exhibition where I thought: that would no longer be up-to-date today.
JS Perhaps you haven’t seen enough, then? For example, I booked Naomi Campbell from very early on, and repeatedly for several years during the supermodel era. I have absolutely nothing against black or Asian models. I remember that this was brought up when I went back to Jil Sander for the last time in 2012, and we followed through with it in our casting too. What is ultimately important to me personally, though, is the model’s personality and poise, and perhaps a spirit that you see when you look at a model. I’ve actually always made casting decisions on the basis of that feeling.
JK Would you have been able to do an exhibition like the one in Frankfurt under your own name earlier? Or was there a blocking period that you had to wait out after you sold your company to Prada in 1999?
JK In an interview with British Vogue in 2011, your successor at Jil Sander, Raf Simons, described his first – and presumably only – encounter with you at Art Basel. You ran into each other randomly at a hot dog stand. He said that you were very friendly to him and that you seemed happy. Does his description line up with what you remember?
JS Yes, I remember that pleasant encounter.
JK Do you have anything more to say about it?
JS No, because I don’t know Raf Simons. I’ve only met him once. Of course, when you’ve spent your whole life building up a company, as I have, you’re interested in whether the company continues to thrive, whether the company carries on. In the time when Raf Simons worked for Jil Sander, he helped keep the label from going under. I also hope that the new designers…
JK …Lucie and Luke Meier…
JS …that they’re successful and that things turn out well for them. We have a good relationship with the company in Japan that Jil Sander belongs to today. The Jil Sander management came to Frankfurt for the opening and had a look at my exhibition. The new designers did, too.
JK Helmut Lang made a cleaner break from his label than you did. He says very matter-of-factly that when you’ve sold something, it’s not yours anymore. He also sold his label to Prada.
JS A lot of people who’ve sold their companies give this advice, of course: that you should never go back; that you always have to keep moving forward. When one door closes, another one opens. But perhaps I was really like a divorced woman who still has children with her ex-husband and wants to take care of them. Both times that I went back to Jil Sander as a designer, I had the same feeling. And I can tell you, sitting here today, that I’ve stomached everything well, that everything is OK.
JK Little is shared publicly about your private life. The exhibition catalogue quotes you as saying, ‘Freely unfolding sensuality is more important to me than the classification of people into two genders.’ This is a very beautiful, poetic statement that a lot of people would probably shorten to ‘I’m queer’ or ‘I don’t see the world through a heteronormative lens’.
JS Perhaps stating those sorts of positions creates new boundaries that I consider unnecessary. Freedom consists precisely in liberation from unambiguousness. As a designer, I have always sought clothing that brings us sympathy as human beings and emphasizes our personalities rather than our sexual preferences, however varied they may be.
JK The exhibition shows that in 1996, you conceived a large outdoor sculpture for the Florence Biennale together with Mario Merz. What does your engagement with art mean to you?
JS What has always interested me about art is its distinctive perception of the world and its individual signature. The emotional presence of the hand in a work by Agnes Martin or Cy Twombly, the surprisingly touching effect that Robert Ryman generates through his concentrated exploration of non-colouredness, or the moods that James Turrell produces with the medium of light. I admire the way Eva Hesse’s works combine power with fragility, and the lightness that Richard Serra’s sculptures evince despite their heavy materials.
JK Has looking at and collecting art influenced your approach to your own exhibition?
JS Not at all. But my engagement with art has been reaffirmed to me frequently. And it has repeatedly led me to see more sharply. I’m interested in quality, and that’s true for all areas and can be very simple sometimes. After all, I’m a gardener too. Nature has always inspired me.
JK This is apparent in the video installation Garden, perhaps the most surprising inclusion in ‘Present Tense’: a 15-minute video from summer 2017 about the giant English garden in your home in Schleswig-Holstein. It makes the viewer want to go there immediately.
JS The garden was created over a long period, over 30 years. I designed it together with Dicky Mommsen. There used to be woods and a paddock. We planted everything that appears in the video. I’d say that it too is a little life’s work.
JK Almost everything the video shows is nature, and yet it’s moving and very intimate.
JS At first I wasn’t sure whether to show the garden. But I thought it was a good idea to film it from above with a drone. I made this video with the photographer Norbert Schoerner with the ambition of finding a form different from a BBC nature documentary. The video was also, perhaps, supposed to be a bit spiritual or meditative. For example, the water fountain shoots up into the sunlight, where a rainbow then appears. It was a little greeting to Dicky Mommsen, who can’t see the exhibition for herself.
JK I’m surprised to hear you mention Dicky Mommsen by name…
JS For my whole life, I have made sure that my privacy was protected. Nonetheless, there were headlines in the newspaper Bild in 2013 when Ms Mommsen became ill and I decided to give up my work at Jil Sander. I don’t know where that came from. I didn’t want it. But in this case…you already know that she died. With the video, I’m saying: she would like this. It’s highly personal, but that doesn’t bother me. But the video of our garden is also a reference to nature. Nature has always played an important role in my design, because I wanted to give a leading role to the different natures of the people wearing my designs.