It’s been a rough road for Jil Sander, a series of truncated designer reigns, false starts and abrupt stops. What’s a beleaguered design team to do? According to the show notes, its mandate was “addressing and restating the fundamental codes of the Jil Sander label, reinforcing the emblems of the house.” To that extent, the surely beleaguered team, along with stylist Katy England, performed gamely. Coats and jackets in gorgeous, chalky cashmeres drew a straight line to the Sander glory years, their precise, calm minimalism a chic homage. Conversely, lean dresses with asymmetric drapes and twists at the waist seemed like an attempt to make the collection more sensual within reason. Could a woman find clothes to wear? Absolutely; there were some beauties both tony and alluring.
But that’s not enough. For a collection to resonate from the runway it must have sprung from a strong, airtight point of view, a vision. Though minimalism is no longer the epitome of fashion cool, is there a place for it in today’s diverse landscape? Of course, but it needs constant reevaluation rather than “restating,” and must come from a place of conviction and confidence — hard to achieve by committee. If there is to be another hire, whether from within or from the outside, both sides would have to be in it for the long haul. As Jil Sander has plowed through designers and teams, a whole lot of terrific fashion has diverted attention elsewhere.