I came to the Jil Sander show with a clean slate and high expectations. As someone who started covering the menswear collections after Sander had left her signature label I only had vintage photos and stories from veteran journalists to go by. Anecdotal evidence about the influence this woman once wielded on the fashion world.
After Sander’s return to the catwalk today with her spring/summer 2013 collection I finally understand what the fuss is all about. Her strong show was so young, fresh and modern that it was as if she had never taken her finger off the fashion pulse during her seven year hiatus. She is proof positive that you are only as old as you feel. With this collection Sander revealed herself to be a designer still in the prime of her creative prowess.
It was a show dominated by an elongated jacket, with or without sleeves, that came paired with slim cuffed pants or wide shorts cut for the skater boy set. There was also an interesting use of tonal shading on the silhouettes. A crisp white jacket would come outfitted with long pockets cut in a cream color or a burgundy suit would shade down into darker linear blocks. There was a whiff of workman’s wear in the boxy tops in kaki and mustard colors and the hip use of abstract numeral-like patterns on tops pointed to perhaps the Asian influence of Sander’s time working with Uniqlo. Another show highlight that left the audience craving for more were the honeycomb print outfits that gave a textural tension to the collection.
The succession from Raf Simons to Jil Sander was seamless. But does that mean that Simons did an expert job at interpreting the Sander DNA? Or did Sander reference Simons slightly? That will be the debate over a number of dinners tonight. The important thing for buyers, however, is that this collection will sell.