It wasn't hard to imagine the challenge the Jil Sander team faced in creating the collection that necessity demanded they offer today. Shorn of their emblematic figurehead and her show-defining stylist, they presented clothes that were, at best, a stop-gap before Jil's successor takes up the cudgels on a fashion placement that must surely be less gratifying with every warp in the label's continuing devolution.
The press notes were a minor masterwork of positive spin, promising "subtle electricity" and "tailoring applied to every aspect of the design of the wardrobe." The head spun with images of bespoke undies. No such luck. In actuality, the studio delivered a smartly serviceable collection of suits, knits, and outerwear that encapsulated the ethos of the label. There was a nod to the appetite for outsize that has already established itself as a trend in Milan (even more appealing in the Sander fabrics), and the "subtle electricity" made its presence felt in the shiny disco pants at show's end.
But there was an intriguing question niggling after the show. How different would the audience's response have been if this were a "Jil" show? This was, after all, her team. The only difference is that they were working without her direction. And if she'd been there, directing backstage? Well, who's to know. But let's face it, fashion is all about those backroom boys and girls.