"I'm not a print queen," Jil Sander announced after her show today, "but I just have the feeling to extend things." She was referring to the mixed-up, mumbled-up graphic that injected a slice of chaos into the fiercely controlled collection she'd just presented. Controlled, in fact, to the point of clinical, it was one of those moments when one could have wished to be inside the skull of the designer while she was composing her vision of the contemporary male, if only to see exactly what it was that she herself saw.
The soundtrack—Marianne Faithfull and Jimmy Somerville—suggested an eighties context. The primarily monochrome black and white palette—interrupted by orange as a flecked pattern, as a piped detail, or as a solid slab of color—compounded that impression with a New Wave graphicism. An industrial eighties feel also molded bonded-leather pieces, shiny and strange.
To view the presentation as an expression of the tricky standoff between chaos and control might actually have given it more weight than the designer herself ever intended, even if there were some distressed plaids that supported the notion. And, dissected with a gimlet glare, the collection actually did dissolve into some splendid jackets and coats. But as an overall statement, Sander's man was more mad science than flesh and blood.
Spring 2014 Menswear
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