Even before the Jil Sander show began, held at the headquarters in Milan, a sense of artistic vision was conjured by the floor-to-ceiling black room broken only by one solitary white door that was covered in graffiti. The sound of a clock ticked and the first model burst dramatically through the door. Look one was a strong statement, it told us that we were in the hands of a potent designer, Raf Simons, be it via the icy, cold feel to the clothes or the matching Kraftwerk–esque models who frowned as they marched.
Look one was a three piece ensemble (by that I mean trousers, jacket and trench-coat) of entirely black, polished leather. As each look progressed we were taken deeper and deeper into the corporate world of Simons imagining. Immediately ideas of Patrick Bateman vs the Cold War or Stasi captains from the feature film, The Lives Of Others came to mind and journalists began furiously tweeting mini reviews into the ether. The ether by the way had a distinct smell at this show, boot polish or probably the freshly dried black paint coating the room…
“An explanation of the subtle tension between control and release,” read the accompanying show notes. “Leather coats take a prominent part in the collection. Oversized and partially belted, they’re worn over suits exemplifying a confident manhood.”
Volume was an incredibly key element to this collection. Trousers were shaped like baggy slacks while the leather on the trench coats billowed out at the belt and on the skirt. One lapel on a long overcoat was wide, oversized with three buttons falling elegantly, if not more rather placed incredibly efficiently beneath. Sleek white shirt collars just peeked out from crew necked black jumpers.
This whole collection was black, we all know black, it's the oldest rule in the book but why did it still feel so fresh? Why did it feel as if the hundreds of fashion stylists present at the show were already imagining fresh shoots inspired by these black, shiny leather looks? One name, Raf Simons, a man who is claiming his era. Today the Belgian designer delivered a collection of extreme Germanic precision – it’s tough, smart and means business with no room for error - yet somehow he injected that nearly indescribable sense of poetry into the collection as is his way.
A quirk amongst all of this seriousness (that was also incredibly sexy by the way) were little animals that appeared on tightly knitted jumpers and flaps on the back of tops – whales, mermaids, dinosaurs. Like Schiaparelli, Simons likes to play with surréalism (remember the Picasso-esque eyes for womenswear SS12?) It gave a sense of inner gentleness to the Simon’s man, he said it was to acknowledge the infantile side of mans psychology. It’s so modern and so now to celebrate the duality of the corporate man, after all Patrick Bateman, Bret Easton Ellis' fictional character from his novel American Psycho may have been an unforgivable psychopath but in the twenty years that have since passed he has undoubtedly become one of the most loved and treasured fictional characters in modern literature; Ellis has never topped himself on that.
- Sarah Hay
Nine Inch Nails, Closer
Harry Escott, Brandon (Shame feature film soundtrack)