Remember Jil Sander's Fall/Winter collection from 2008? It's cool if you don't (that’s what we’re here for). About a third of the collection, designed by Raf Simons, is comprised of suiting, knits and outerwear made from photo-realistic marble printed fabric. It's a digital print that brings to mind both Earth’s great monoliths, and the polished countertops in your parent’s kitchen. It was a bold choice for Raf to make at the time, but it’s turned out to be one of his greatest.
Since Raf’s collection in '08, there's been little-to-no foray into crystallized mineral prints by other designers (less one or two blogger replicas). We can’t say for sure, but it’s wholly possible Raf's execution was so flawless that it has intimidated his peers from attempting something similar, or maybe they just don’t know how to do it. But It's not as though these garments have been forgotten about entirely. Among the fashion obsessed, the marble-pattern pieces are some of the most sought-after from Raf's lauded seven-year stint at Jil Sander.
If you’re marble drunk, it'll probably take over $2,000 (and 2 years) to piece together the shirt, jacket and pants.
There's a little bit of mystery behind how Raf actually created the print—the same way there's a shroud of mystery surrounding how ancient marblers did what they did. Marbling's been around for something like 500 years, and all that's known about the process is that it's dangerous, requires a ton of toxic chemicals, a good amount of finesse, and just the right technique. You know, sort of like cooking meth.
What’s most eye-opening is that it appears as if the pattern never repeats itself, whereas almost all printed clothing is typically made using a small graphic that’s repeated in grid form. We’re not sure how Raf pulled this off, but it’s possible he used extremely large and detailed photos of rocks that have been printed singularly on massive pieces of fabric.
Finding a marbled piece from F/W 08 in your size won't be as easy as snagging a pair of Jordans on eBay. With any luck, you can come across something on Rakuten or Yahoo Auctions Japan. But be warned: I've tried that. Turns out, searching “Jil Sander marbled” yields 100-odd pages of irrelevant, boner-killing results. The pieces pop up on forums from time to time, but never for a bargain. If you’re marble drunk, it'll probably take over $2,000 (and 2 years) to piece together the shirt, jacket and pants. Not that we recommend going full Thing. You just might have better luck marbling yourself- just don’t blow up your Winnebago.
Images courtesy of Style.com