A new day dawns at Jil Sander on July 1, when Raf Simons officially assumes his position as creative director. So this collection was logically viewed as a transition between Sander past and futureand just how smooth that transition is likely to be was made clear when Simons took his seat in the front row. The elegant, cadet-sharp simplicity of his appearance was perfectly in keeping with the Sander ideal. So, more surprisingly, were the clothes sent out by the caretaker team (the PR emphasis was very much on the
collection as a collaborative effort). There was no hint of design by
committee here. "Lightness and harmony" were the stated aims, and these were beautifully achieved.
Jil's own affection for an idealized '50s Americana found expression in a Hawaiian sub-textone shirt printed with surfing images, another with stylized starfish, a couple of gingham shirts over-printed with leis of bougainvillea, and shorts elongated like jams to just below the knee. When paired with the bandbox smartness of Sander's signature tailoring in navy or tan trousers (or white jeans), the result suggested officers on shore leave in Honolulu. And indeed, there was an almost military precision to the color scheme (navy, white, gray, tan), with a single sensational hit of tomato-red in a cropped jacket. The house's reputation for fabric research was honored in a salt-treated finish that crinkled a navy jacket, and a polyester-cotton blend that brought new lightness to a Prince of Wales-checked suit. The single bum notewafer-thin-soled white shoes that uncomfortably echoed Capezios. Raf was probably relieved to see there was some room for improvement after all.