One felt in something of a time warp. And not because the clothes themselves looked dated. In fact, in the Jil Sander collection Rodolfo Paglialunga showed on Saturday, he delivered some strong clothes with interesting points of distinction that should resonate with women who like to dress with stylish authority. Paglialunga dared to challenge those women with his bold tailoring, strong-shouldered coats and jackets in sturdy fabrics. These were cut on the full side and shaped at the waist by self-fabricated half-belts, tied in back. He also made lovely work of luminous materials, whether cutting a T-shirt dress in a rose gold metallic or adding frenzied, thick scribbles of silver to otherwise austere jackets and pants.
The problem was the tremor of conflict that ran through the collection, one not of the fashion-opposites-attract genre. “Drama is seen in a dry, angular perspective,” Paglialunga wrote in his program notes. Too dry. The brand’s signature minimal austerity turned weighty in both look and mood, even as Paglialunga tried to break away with shimmery, shaggy knits paired to mesh and some dresses that twisted and turned in body-con asymmetry. These played simultaneously as a nod the artsy side of the house founder’s aesthetic and as an attempt by the current designer to twist free of her shadow. Jil Sander herself has left the building. It’s time for Paglialunga to feel free to take full command of the vacated space.