A veritable maze of almost hyperreal foliage glistening wetly against a flushed sunset - Simons filled his collection with every unnatural hue under the sun.
Raf Simons' Spring/Summer 2011 collection for Jil Sander was about a single statement: colour. Make that Technicolor, and shout it very, very loud indeed. Presented in the lush greenery of the Villa Gamberaia gardens in the hills of Florence - a veritable maze of almost hyperreal foliage glistening wetly against a flushed sunset - Simons filled his collection with every unnatural hue under the sun. Purple jostled with vermillion, cobalt-blue jolted against emerald green and tangerine, fluorescent pink crashed and clashed with black and peach. Indeed, each and every hue of a BBC test-card were packed together, sometimes into a single eye-popping block-print t-shirt or intricate intarsia sweater spattered like a helter-skelter game of Tetris.
More than one gamer has been diagnosed with Tetris Effect - all those bright colours and flashing lights interfering with visuo-spatial memory - and the spectacle of Jil Sander's multicoloured models flickering by in striated bands of colour was similarly mesmerising. However, broken down into composite parts, Simons' Sander shapes were actually super-simple, with small-collared shirts, single-breasted jackets, slender trousers and chunky, blunt-toed brogues flashed of contrast colour on the soles. If those sound familiar it's because you may already own them, each one a reiteration of Simons' classic, consistent shapes, pepped with sportswear detailing and that Acid House colour palette. There were a few details that felt fresh, when adhesive fabric tape in contrasting colours outlined hems or delineated waists at the back of jackets for example, alongside some neat Warholian blurred flower prints in super-saturated colour - another example of the collection's exploration of the tension between natural and supernatural.
That notion brings us back to the very idea of fashion itself - what is fashion if not a dialogue between the natural and the man-made, constructing shapes to cover the form of the human body, sometimes mimicking its natural contours and sometimes extrapolating from them. But let's not get bogged-down in over-zealous intellectual rhetoric. This Jil Sander collection doesn't need to be overanalysed. There was something undeniably simple and - dare we say it - summery about the whole thing, and these clothes will be an easy sell. Although, summer or not, one has a feeling it will still be the basic black and white versions that sell out.