For his third collection for Jil Sander, Raf Simons's ongoing redefinition of the label's menswear was as subtle as a single chalk stripe trailing down a navy jacket, an echo of the pinstripes that can be found hanging in many a male closet. But there was poetry in that lonely line, because Simons was aiming for nothing less than a new geometry of the body. Show notes invoked the sculptor Antony Gormley, whose work distills the human form into a graphic frame. Simons attempted something similar when he trailed two horizontal stripes in a sparkling metallic across a sweater, or wove a grid of lines on a double-faced wool coat, like a degraded windowpane check.
But the graphics scarcely stopped with the woven and felted lines that framed knitwear, jackets, and coats. Simons also showed quilted-nylon blousons and coats in iridescent blue, copper, and green of an almost jewel-like intensity. He tucked a faux collar of metallic knit inside a navy sweater, then let a layer of the same knit peek out from under a sober cardigan (imagine discovering your granddad was a glam rocker on the side). Perhaps not exactly the revelation Simons had in mind, but certainly symptomatic of his knack for transmogrifying the mundaneeven the toggles he used on his duffel coat made you sit up and look twice. And, since we're talking about contrasts, the shearlings shot with a single vertical strip of metal looked like essential winterwear for 2007/8. They may yet be the season's most artful comment on the crucial dialogue between Mother Nature and the Machine.