英文翻譯：translated by Jane Yager
中文獨家翻譯： Agnes Ge.S.J
JS：90年代中期的當時，我對於興起的波鞋文化非常感興趣，不過我對於當時球鞋的廉價用料不甚滿意。當時我的品牌已經開始在意大利生產自家的球鞋，我們自產的那批球鞋做工精緻且款式優雅；是能夠用來搭配一件優雅外套的那種球鞋。但當時由於技術的限制，我們無法在意大利的工廠的對球鞋膠底進行硫化。因此我們想，是去找Nike, Adidas, 還是Puma合作呢？最終我們找到了Puma，這三家中規模最小的一個，由此誕生了“King”系列（1996）的聯名款球鞋。這款鞋是一款拳擊運動鞋，材料上我們選擇了手套使用的柔軟皮革來包裹出奢華的質感。你很難想像這款鞋一出當時市場的反映，東京的客人們為了購買這款球鞋夜里三點鐘開始在Jil Sander店外排隊。
JIL SANDER CAMPAIGN A/W 2013/2014. MODEL: EDIE CAMPBELL; PHOTOGRAPH: © DAVID SIMS
JK：在今天，奢侈品牌球鞋佔據了一個非常可觀的市場。 Raf Simons和Adidas合作推出聯名球鞋，甚至連Hermes和Louis Vuitton都售賣球鞋。
JK：同時在涉足化妝品領域的設計師品牌中Jil Sander也是非常先人一步的，早在1979年你就推出“Woman Pure”香氛。
JIL SANDER CAMPAIGN S/S 1996. MODEL: GUINEVERE VAN SEENUS; PHOTOGRAPH: © CRAIG MCDEAN
JS：我想這也許是展覽沒有讓你看到全部？舉例來說，我很早就使用像Naomi Campbell這樣的黑人姑娘作為模特，我和她的合作在那個超模年代裡一直持續了多年。我個人對於黑人和亞裔的模特沒有任何異議。我記得我2012年那一次回歸Jil Sander的時候這個議題也被提出來，而在模特選角中這一點我們一直非常留意。不過對我來說真正重要的因素是莫得當代人格魅力，是你看到這個模特的時候從她/他身上感覺到的一種靈氣。事實上我一直是憑著這種對魅力和靈氣的感覺在選角。
JS：我必須等待。其實Prada的那次收購本來計劃中應該是一場合作，以合資的形式展開。絕對不是我等著要出售我的公司出去。那時候Jil Sander有很大的成長空間，特別在配飾領域，而正期求成為像LVMH或者Kering那樣的時尚巨頭的Prada正是看中這一點。今天，奢侈品牌90%的收入來自眼鏡，鞋履，包袋等配飾類產品。而90年代時，Jil Sander有80%的收入來自服裝。服裝永遠是我的重心。企業合資在那個時候是挺流行的一種方式，而正好Prada對Jil Sander提出了合作。最終這個合作沒有成功，4個月後我就離開了品牌控制者的位置。這個離開的決定很艱難，但我必須這麼做。
‘JIL SANDER. PRESENT TENSE’, INSTALLATION VIEW, 2017, MUSEUM ANGEWANDTE KUNST. COURTESY: MUSEUM ANGEWANDTE KUNST; PHOTOGRAPH: © PAUL WARCHOL
JK：在2011年英國版Vogue的一個訪問中，你的繼任者Raf Simons描述了他第一次——可能也是唯一一次——在Art Basel和你照面的經歷。你和他在展覽廳中的一個賣熱狗的攤位上無意中撞見了彼此。他說你對他非常的友善，而且你看上去心情很不錯。他的這個描述和你的記憶吻合嗎？
JS：不記得了，因為我並不認識Raf Simons。我也只見過他一次。當然，當你花費了畢生心血去建立一個品牌，正如我，你當然會想了解這個公司是否能繼續繁榮，是否能延續持久？當Raf Simons在Jil Sander時，他成功保住了品牌的地位。我也希望著新的設計師們····
JS：對，我希望他們能取得成功，事情能得到好結果。我們和Jil Sander日本的控股公司有著很良好的關係。 Jil Sander品牌的管理人員也專程來法蘭克福參加了我這次回顧展的開幕。兩位新的設計師也一同來了。
JIL SANDER, 1999. COURTESY: JIL SANDER; PHOTOGRAPH: © ALDO FALLAI
JIL SANDER AND MARIO MERZ PAVILION AT THE ART AND FASHION BIENNALE, FLORENCE, 1996. PHOTOGRAPH: © ATTILIO MARANZANO
JS：藝術表達了一種對於世界的獨特看法和個人烙印讓我始終保有興趣。那些Agnes Martin或Cy Twombly的作品中通過筆跡透露的情感，或者Robert Ryman從對單色的深度探索中產生的動人效果，亦或者特納以畫中的光線表現出的氣氛。我也欣賞德裔美籍雕塑家Eve Hesse那些糅合了力量和脆弱的作品，更有Richard Serra那些使用沉重金屬材料的巨型雕塑作品卻展現出的輕盈。
JK：嗯，這一點也體現在展覽中播放的視頻“Garden”，大概是這次“Present Tense”回顧展中最讓人驚奇的一個組成部分了：一個15分鐘的視頻展示了在你家鄉Schleswig -Holstein的一個巨大的英式花園在2017年夏天的影像。這讓人們看了想立刻衝過去看。
JIL SANDER’S GARDEN, 2009. COURTESY: © JIL SANDER
JS：剛開始我並不確定是否要將這個花園展示出來。但我想如果用無人機航拍花園會是一個好主意。我和一位叫Norbert Schoerner的攝影師一起製作了這個視頻，為的是呈現出和BBC的自然紀錄片不一樣的形式。這個短片應該時具有一定精神層面和冥想層面意味的。舉例來說，我們拍攝了噴泉下的陽光，隨後一縷彩虹就出現了。有些向Dicky Mommsen問候的意思吧，雖然她不能親自來看這次展覽了。
英文翻譯：translated by Jane Yager
中文獨家翻譯： 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.