Jil Sander F/W 2018
Yesterday I was talking to Alessandro dell’Acqua at the Marco di Vincenzo show and he was complaining a little bit that Milan does not have more fashion design leadership apart from “Gucci, Prada and maybe Marni. There are no young designers.” Well, if he saw photos of the new Jil Sander collection he might have added the brand to the list. Within only two seasons Lucie and Luke Meier have created a whole new design vernacular for the German brand which feels genuinely new, very conceptual and daring. It’s a breath of cool air fashion and delivered on a freshly painted white catwalk in a cool concrete show space with an excellent soundtrack, their protective and cocoonish tailoring in mostly whites with dashes of couture in colorful coats with smart bags and inventive footwear made clear that Jil Sander is a design brand to be reckoned with again. From taking the show out of the stuffy showroom space to hiring Wim Wenders for their advertising, the husband and wife design duo leave no stone unturned to make the house their own. In fact, they emphatically believe in the future.
Forget about minimalism!
As Phoebe Philo at Celine has proven a house can be anything a designer wants it to be. If he or she is good. Of course, Jil Sander has a clear DNA but it seems the Meier’s are avoiding trips to the archives and are instead focusing on a deeply personal and emotional approach via their clothes.
The Meiers believe that the future is not only about bad news and violent conflicts but can be a place where comfort and a feeling of home is found through the clothes we wear. Their tactile fabrics and Lurex embroideries are meant to make you feel good and safe. What a refreshing attitude.
What stood out?
The clothes looked like they were floating around the body giving a sense of freedom and not restriction. One coat had pockets that looked like the inside of a warm glove to make you actually feel what you are wearing.
You know it works when?
We went to visit the Jil Sander flagship store to see how the first collection holds up on the racks and not only does the space look terrific it was also full of clients trying on pieces and shopping. Always a good sign for a house.
Versace F/W 2018
This brand is fashion’s biggest enigma at the moment. I mean who else has Blackstone Group as an investor, the private equity fund led by Stephen Schwartzman who famously served on Donald Trump’s Advisory Council. Blackstone gave major cash in 2014 for growth. Considering the company’s archives and brand recognition, it seems easy to imagine that the brand could morph into another plus billion dollar powerhouse but somehow it is not happening. After all the talk if Riccardo Tisci was joining or not – and no, we never believed that Kim Jones had what it takes to lead Versace – Donatella has emerged as the only relevant creative person in the house. And she is on fire. The recent tribute to Gianni collection was spot on and pioneered the 80’s revival we see in fashion all over. Then she added a strong men’s show in January, which also explored the houses’ codes. But last night she topped it by sending her brand into fashion nirvana with a bold fabric and color clash collection, which rocked Palazzo Reale, the regal show space next to the Duomo. Let’s remember, Versace was always a brand, which was insulted as being vulgar and cheap, and the truth is the key codes of Versace walk that thin line. To skew towards expensive and artisanship was what Gianni knew very well how to do while Donatella can sometimes get it wrong. But last night’s outing was so clear and good that the entire line up looked expensive, of the moment and wanting for more. Exactly the feeling good fashion should be able to provide.
The secret to success?
No other house in the fashion world stands for unabashed fabric and pattern mix like Versace. It’s one of the signatures, which got Gianni on the radar in the first place. Now, with enough distance to her brother, Donatella has found an elegant and sexy way to show silks with animal print and wools in tartans to work well together.
Versace and casting?
It’s not always the best of the best but at the end of the day, only a Versace show can convince super models in retirement to make a catwalk appearance again. For the Triennale tribute collection it was no less than Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen, Carla Bruni and Cindy Crawford and last night the show was opened by Natalia Vodionova and other not often seen tops like Anja Rubik and Raquel Zimmermann were in the show.
The weird thing?
Some Italian designers excel when channeling Britishness and nobody was better at that than Gianni. So to see Edie Campbell in a fabric mash up tartan skirt with argyle patterned knee high socks was just devilishly perfect.
Palazzo Reale next to the Duomo is one of Milan’s classiest and most coveted locations. Versace held a dinner there followed by a Maurice Bejart ballet after Gianni passed as a tribute. Now Donatella went back to the space and it added regalness and class to the show.