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Men'sWeek issue 01/15/2015

After a long career in women’s wear, Rodolfo Paglialunga is taking the plunge into men’s in a big way.

This story first appeared in the January 15, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Paglialunga, who was appointed creative director of Jil Sander in April, cut his teeth at Romeo Gigli in the early Nineties, before joining Prada, where he spent 10 years in various roles, ultimately rising to the post of women’s wear design director. In 2009, Paglialunga left the fashion label to join Vionnet as creative director. On Jan. 17, he’ll unveil his first men’s collection for Jil Sander at the company’s Milan showroom.

“Jil Sander’s heritage is so strong that sometimes it’s better not to pay too much attention to it to avoid the risk of being intimidated,” said the designer, expressing his admiration for the work of the brand’s founder, who in 2013 left the company after her third comeback. “I try to create the collections from my own point of view, following my instinct and focusing on what I like.”

For his first attempt in the men’s wear business, Paglialunga said he focused on real clothes for real men.

“I tried to build the collection to make it easily approachable by customers,” he said. “I didn’t want to create the image of an abstract, idealized man. I wanted to inject a sense of real life.”

Paglialunga said he worked with luxury fabrics, which are part of Jil Sander’s tradition, such as cashmere and double wool. These were mixed with more contemporary and innovative materials to create clothes that are more functional and practical.

“I didn’t stick to a specific, statement silhouette,” Paglialunga said, adding that more fitted pieces will be matched with more relaxed styles in the outfits.

The sophisticated color palette based on classic men’s tones, such as black, blue, brown and burgundy, are combined with brighter hues, especially in the most informal part of the collection. For this, Paglialunga was inspired by workwear, especially for a range of pieces in a vintage French cotton which was formerly used for laborers’ uniforms.

The mostly monochromatic outfits will be juxtaposed with coats, pants and blazers in micro-geometric prints that combine different patterns.

Knitwear will also play a pivotal role in the collection and will include slightly felted cashmere pieces that are still “soft, rich and cozy,” said Paglialunga, who also worked a vintage triacetate yarn for sharp-cut sweaters in bright tones.

In addition, the designer created a footwear range, consisting of shoes which, while inspired by chunky work styles, have a luxury, polished look. These include loafers, derbies and booties with lightweight rubber soles.

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