Old Celine? Fuggedaboutit. There’s a new brand of intellectual femininity to believe in: Jil Sander.
On Wednesday night, designers Luke and Lucie Meier proved to be new leaders of Milan Fashion Week with their spectacular collection shown at Casa del Design, the city’s forthcoming museum of industrial design.
In a soothingly spare white hall with arched windows evocative of a church, the models walked out as if in ceremony, taking seats in simple cane chairs lining the runway. It meant all the more time to linger on the gorgeous clothes, which at every turn managed to be restrained without being plain, feminine without being overly frilly, special without feeling like one-season wonders.
“It’s not about minimalism, it’s about purity,” Lucie Meier said backstage, explaining the duo’s approach, which felt more everywoman accessible than ever this season.
Tailoring was contoured to the feminine form, as on a beautiful curved black coat with soft ties at the wrist that could be a wardrobe hero piece, and on a black sleeveless long line blazer shaped at the waist, and side-slit skirt, both made of ribbed knit for a soft touch.
Cape details added noble grace to several pieces in the collection, including an ivory ribbed cashmere sweater dress that gave new meaning to cozy chic, and a cream taffeta balloon blouse and skirt that had real-world, sporty sophistication. An ecru sleeveless cape-effect sweater worn with a softly flared skirt edged in a barely there ruffle was another example of romantic realism. Ditto the layered-over trousers look that followed, with a sleeveless black corded coat, over cream blazer, over white blouse with drawstring collar that was part hood, part ruffle. Genius.
Pin-tucked and pleated floral dresses were sweet but packed a punch, balanced by geometric heeled boots and the elongated box bag, which should give Bottega Veneta’s pouch a run for its money.
The palette ranged from blue and black to peach, ecru and butter yellow pastels. And texture elevated simple shapes, such as the lemon-yellow mohair draped tunic and scarf over sharp white cuffed trousers look, and the blush pieced and quilted snap front coat that was a modern classic.
A flash of lipstick red on the hem of a sleeveless black, pleated drop-waist dress was something unexpected. There were a lot of details like it, including the blink-and-you-miss-it white string tank top incorporated into the neckline of a delicate yellow floral slipdress. So modern and cool.
The designers’ penchant for handcraft could be felt throughout, from necklaces made from tiny sculpted bells, each holding a pearl, to the hand-knotted black-and-white fringe sweep of a cape dress that was a showstopper. More-is-more gave way to a slow fashion exhale — it was a Milan fashion moment to remember.