Jil Sander was an early advocate of the hyper-focused fashion show, given to delivering a singular message with acute precision. She sometimes did so via two or three subtexts, with their connection always clear. Such was the case with her fall collection last season, a gem of a dissertation on discreetly presented architectural cuts.
For spring Sander took a different approach. Yes, the serenity, the calm, the poise were all in place. But beyond those most basic elements of her aesthetic, her message was less linear; “the powerful beauty of random assemblage,” she wrote in her program notes. Backstage, she spoke less poetically: “It’s a modern woman, and we’ve gone a little bit eclectic,” she said.
Sander started with an alluring take on mannish tailoring — a black jacket cropped to expose the midriff above belted white pants. In short order came dresses, always elegant, but with a range from demure (white raffia jacquard) to racy (a black dress with neckline slashed to the waist). There were luxe coats and jackets in pale pink and yellow, some man-tailored in front with flyaway volume in back. A pair of gorgeous graphic sweaters over long skirts were artful in their subtlety, while a group of looks printed with Alighiero Boetti reproductions held hidden imagery awaiting discovery up close. There was even a feathered moment in black and white.
Everything was cut with typical Sander-esque precision, and if a piece or two turned cumbersome in their geometry, most radiated chic. But Sander’s phrase “random assemblage” proved apt. Her numerous beautiful parts didn’t coalesce into the kind of clear, powerful statement that has always characterized her best collections.