Jil Sander S/S 2016

Oh Designer Where Art Thou?

Prison garb for affected youth, leather shorts for a steamy summer day, gray socks with gray shoes and endless spindly legs. How to connect this show from Jil Sander with the majestic minimalism for which the house was once legendary for? Try as we might, it proved beyond us.

Lavish use of rubber is not so cool in summer Jil Sander
Lavish use of rubber is not so cool in summer

Injecting a dose of Italian sportswear into Sander was inevitable, especially after hiring Rodolfo Paglialunga as creative director. And his debut women’s shows and first men’s wear season both showed real promise. However, this season the designer seemed hopelessly lost between riffing on the prairie flower power prints of his predecessor Raf Simons, and recalling the mat hues of the house’s founder.

This suit looks more like fetish gear than German tailoring Jil Sander
This suit looks more like fetish gear than German tailoring

In a word, balancing Thom Browne schoolboy leather pants; Highwayman trenches with funny winged shoulders; bicycle messenger foul weather tunics was always going to be difficult. In this case it ultimately proved impossible.  As for the Wormwood Scrums jail gear and the Oh Brother Where Art Thou denim, the less said the better.

The best looks were the coats, a reminder of the fantastic winter collection Jil Sander
The best looks were the coats, a reminder of the fantastic winter collection

Quite where one was meant to wear these clothes was difficult to fathom – suitable only for a central Asian fashion victim aspiring to be a blogger. Paglialunga is without doubt a talented designer, but the conceit of this collection was confusing and contrived. We love a concept show and rubber and nylon are fabrics who are generally associated with directional designers who make cool clothes but the beautiful tailoring of the winter season was sorely missed.

Quite what Frau Sander would have thought of this, one shudders to think…