Jil Sander: The Verdict (Again)

It's a baptism of fire taking on such a cult brand like Jil Sander. The comparisons for any new designer taking on the job come thick and fast – there was the lady herself (more than once), there was Raf, there was the ill-fated appointment of Rodolfo Paglialunga, who left earlier this year, and as such the hangover of far too many creative director chops-and-changes that left the brand hitting the headlines for actually nothing to do with the clothes. And when it comes to them, the room for error is vast.


Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

Sander is a brand built on clean design and which subscribes to a precision-cut, minimal, pure aesthetic. It's all in the details and the nuances that make this mix the right mix. Get it wrong, like Paglialunga did on more than one occasion – in the end taking note from far too many current and "now" trends to distil the brand voice in the way that should have been meant – and it all goes wrong. So no pressure then.

It was an interesting start for Lucie and Luke Meier, the husband and wife team who hail from Dior (the interim seasons post-Raf and pre-Maria) and Supreme and OAMC, respectively. In stylistic terms that means you've got a bit of Parisian polish with streetwear. Though neither of these turned up today.

To go back to the baptism reference, that is exactly what the first series of dresses looked like: baptism gowns, white and with an air of purity in their billowing shirt state. In a new show space, it was presumably meant to signal a rebirth of a brand that has been through troubled waters and wanted to step back into it afresh and come out the other side.


Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

Shirts and maxi shirt dresses saw pleats festooned into them, white and black presided as the main colours with shots of cerulean featuring later on very un-Jil-like billowing dresses. Further non Jil was the amount of ideas that came down the catwalk with less semblance of purity when it came to overall direction. Jumpers were loose in weave from cerulean to brown, there was ruching on sheer shirts and blazers that just didn't have that Jil edge, and there was an overall femininity that seemed slightly misplaced for a brand that is about slick lines and a certain sense of the austere. Tassels came into play later, inserting themselves on tailoring – and it should be noted that these felt like they would crop up in forthcoming editorial, a flourish of woven tassel seems alluring in that shoot context.

As ever with any debut, the debut shouldn't be judged. Remember your first day at work? It takes time to settle in. Perhaps that is what this pair need. Or perhaps Jil has lost its footing among an in-flux landscape in which heritage and former cult status don't necessarily mean the same things anymore.