Audience expectations of the Jil Sander collection have shifted. No longer one of the high-flown conceptual agenda setters of fashion, it now belongs to the category of Milanese shows that process a general mood into a line firmly intended to be commercial.
That means the success of the collection now depends on the market appropriateness of its chosen theme rather than groundbreaking inventiveness. For spring it was upscale athletic, this season posh punk. Milan Vukmirovic opened his show with a slick black patent motorcycle jacket, followed later by a beige patent trench. These, and a satin parka with straps and chrome D-rings, are the kind of items that can be cherry-picked out of the collection as reasonable, wearable classics that will be understandable when hanging in stores.
More questionable was Vukmirovic's follow-through with the idea of plaid. Kiltsnever terribly flattering at the best of timescame redone in tiers of pleats made into asymmetric skirts or extended into dresses. The impression of watered-down punk iconography continued in the white shirt with an appliqu¿ of embroidered wings on the back, the leather bondage neck piece that tethered a halter-neck silk scarf dress, and T-shirts with “Wild heart” and “Sweet Angel” printed on them. Of course, Vivienne Westwood, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto have all had something gutsy to say on these subjects in the past, but Vukmirovic's interpretation went by without anything new to add.