Jil Sander: Crumpled Chic

Society Materials 19 February 2008 22:24 (UTC +04:00)

( Fashion Wire Daily )- Though we live far from a minimalist age, the concept seemed more than relevant and highly contemporary Monday night in Milan when designer Raf Simons presented a sublimely tailored, even if too archly staged, fall 2008 collection for Jil Sander, the German fashion label most synonymous with low key chic.

The show was a major statement by Simons that unveiled his own vernacular for the house, a more structurally ornamental style, where the materials, finally, don't look like they have been ironed every half hour.

It was shocking, yet refreshing, to see several body hugging dresses hitting the catwalk in Sander's via Beltrami show space, which were so crumpled they looked like they'd been pulled out of a packed trunk lost in an airport for three days.

This collection worked from the opening passage, a superbly cut black ribbed knit dress, which tautly enveloped the torso before flaring out in large petals below the waist. Worn on knit hosiery and shoes whose heels recalled Zaha Hadid's surrealist twists, this was a stunning opener.

But the heart of the stylistic matter were the jackets and coats whose collars, twisted, highlighted and soared around the necks of the faultlessly cast pick of the Gotha of modern models. Made in mono-color felt or anthracite, faded gold or Prussian gray tweeds, these were the best cut clothes we've seen so far in the international season.

That said, the show was too repetitive, featured a silvery washed out makeup that was unflattering and as a spectacle never quite took off, so Simons' impressive hard work and smart ideas, were ultimately muffled.

Still, Simons' vision for Sander is now clear. Cast somewhere between a elegiac classicism and a certain dark austerity, just like the fantastic soundtrack by Michel Gaubert that accompanied the show, which opened with Schubert and ended with dramatic industrial rock from Nine Inch Nails.

Welcome to the new cool and crumpled Sander.