QUEEN OF CLEAN
THINK SLEEK TURTLENECKS AND SKINNY PANTS. SANDER’S FALL COLLECTION HAD HER STRONG SIGNATURE: LUXURY WITH SOBRIETY.
JIL SANDER: One of the biggest themes in fashion today is anti-fashion. It’s a movement that manifests itself in spareness, in the absence of embellishment and in the parallel obsessions with basics and thrift shop-inspired clothes. Jil Sander, Miuccia Prada and Helmut Lang are the movement’s gurus, each in a very different way.
In the collection she presented Friday, Sander showed once again why she inspires its most sophisticated faction. Sander doesn’t give a hoot for vintage or shock value. Her focus is on clean, functional shapes — a simple turtleneck, the perfect pair of slim pants — basics, or more correctly, pseudo-basics for the very well-heeled. There is, of course, nothing truly basic about Sander’s clothes, which are cut with impeccable precision and detail in the most exquisite fabrics imaginable.
Fabrics are really what spark this collection; Sander is nearly fanatical about hers. Earlier last week, just days before her show, she jaunted to Como to check out the possibilities for next spring at the textile show Ideabella. Her spring runway was filled with coats in sinfully plush cashmere, light-as-air sweaters in wool and silk, dark, subtly striped cashmere and wool, as well as the most supple leather for shells and skirts.
It’s this kind of luxury fused with Sander’s sense of austerity that distinguishes her collections. No other designer combines the two so expertly. This season, the stark sobriety of it all sometimes became overbearing. But taken individually, there was barely a piece that didn’t sing — not the lean wool shirts in men’s wear fabrics with matching skirts, not the suits with a hint of stretch, certainly not all of those fabulous sweaters. That is until evening. Except for the simple sweaters over shiny trousers, Sander went awry after dark. “Done-up” just isn’t her thing — and it’s certainly not what her customers expect from her. Instead of all those stiff faille contraptions, Jil should stick with what she does so beautifully.