Jill Sander – Lesbian Popular Fashion Designer (Why Popular Lesbians Matter part 2.)
As a young philosopher who was interested in fashion world and written a few articles about philosophy of fashion and philosophy of beauty and fashion models in 1996 (there have been only a few authors at that time) and in general who regularly wrote and translated articles about latest fashion shows and fashion models and was regularly watching weekly CNN fashion review shows I was fairly and pleasantly surprised when discovered that German minimalist fashion designer Jil Sander is lesbian. I wondered and wonder how come I have not known that before! It is almost impossible to overlook sexual orientation of such an important and amazing fashion designer.
I also always wondered how come that there have been so many gay fashion designers and almost no lesbian fashion designers. The same as I used to dance modern dance in my adolescent and student years and there have been plenty of gay dancers and almost no lesbian dancers. Where these disproportions came from I have always wondered? I still haven't gotten the answer. And obviously I am not the only lesbian who is wondering and is baffled by the fact that lots of people think that fashion is for straight women and gay men: these two articles perfectly nail my wonder and astonishment: Where Are All the Lesbians and Queer Women in Fashion? and Where Are All The Queer Girls in Fashion?
Anyway, this article is dedicated to 74 years old lesbian fashion designer and icon Jill Sander. As I read, Jill was together with her partner Angela Mommsen for nearly 30 years.
From November 2017 until May 2018 Jill Sander had her first ever solo-exhibition 'Jil Sander. Present Tense' of her 40 years long fashion designer career in Frankfurt's Museum Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts). Jil Sander launched her first collection in 1973 as a 30 years old woman, creating modern, minimalist clothes that would go on to redefine the working woman's wardrobe. Jil Sander can best be described as fashion’s first feminist and has the strongest claim for empowering women through what they wear. As she said herself: “I never thought of myself as a feminist, but maybe I was, since I was not happy with the way women presented themselves,” the designer says. “I think my work was more about the rapprochement of the sexes and a more androgynous look for men and women. I was looking for more supportive ways to dress myself as a working woman. And since my needs were collective needs in the era of women entering the business world, my work turned out to help them.” The exhibition showcased everything from Sander's expertly tailored coats and dresses to her popular cosmetics line and artistic collaborations, highlighting her lasting impact on what is considered modern in fashion even today.
Other famous lesbian fashion designers I could find are Patricia Field (stylist of TV-shows such as Sex and The City and Younger), Jenny Lyons (who used to be 26 years president and executive creative director of J. Crew) and Courtney Crangi (sister of fine jewelry Philip Crangi).