Rumours that Raf Simons is due to replace Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent, made his Saturday Jil Sander show all the more significant.
Once again he proved that the clean, simplistic lines of Jil Sander, can be reinterpreted every season, and every season it just gets better. For S/S '12 Raf turned to what he calls 'the ultimate Jil Sander item', the white cotton shirt, and spun it into different guises from shirt dresses (obviously), tailored jackets through to ball gowns - but more of those later.
The show opened with a section of white, elegantly-tailored shift pencil dresses, that, while having a uniformic vibe to them, avoided the dental nurse connotations. We all know that Raf can handle colour - just look to the S/S '11 collection of blocked neons, which have continued to influence the high street - so now he turns to print. Paisley print, to be specific; in neons, pastels and monochromatic, and a touch of check and gingham. Accessories were kept to a minimum, but Stephen Jones, as ever, did a stellar job with the veiled hats that were inspired by the beanie (which in it's basic form is very un-Jil, but with Jones' help, make total sense), while the patent box bags had editors leaning out in their seats to get a better look. Raf even seems set on getting woman back into square-toed shoes, but I think I'll give that a miss for now thanks.
Thing is, everyone knows that Jil Sander is good for a working wardrobe, or an 'intellectual' suit that makes you feel smarter and more in the know than anyone else, and that was there aplenty, but there were two sections that everyone talked about on the way out, and every stylist will be calling in over the next few months - the knits and the wedding gowns. Interpreting Picasso's ceramic work on three jumpers was so simple, but so effective - although I imagine securing the rights to use them wasn't simple at all. While the four white finale gowns had women either wishing they could get married again, or desperate for a proposal. Only Raf Simons, or Jil Sander herself, can make a simple white shirt a lust item, but it's quite an achievement to have a room full of women (and probably some men) want to get married in one.
This is the closest to modernism that fashion offers, and is quintessentially Jil. Raf has remained loyal to the bones of the brand - something the legions of fans thank him for – and is a mark of designer respect that must have many other fashion houses looking at him with interest.
- Kay Barron in Milan