Creative Director Rodolfo Paglialunga is new at the house of Jil Sander - he only has one womenswear collection under his belt. So it would make sense if he had been dipping into the archives and exploring Jil Sander collections from days gone by. That would explain the retro feel at the A/W 15 showing. In was evident not only in the palette - a rich mix of classic menswear hues such as burgundy and brown - but also in the shapes, from those extra roomy trousers featuring large front pleats to the nostalgic-looking trenches that appeared almost vintage. That said, Paglialunga has stated in interviews that he's tried to not get too caught up in the archive and follow his own vision instead. That might seem like an odd path for a man that cut his teeth in womenswear (he spent 10 years at Prada, eventually moving up to womenswear design director before leaving to take the helm at Vionnet as creative director). When a great archive is there to explore, why rely on your own imagination? But he wasn't trying to do that either. He talked of being inspired by real men and wanting to produce real clothes than can have a life off the runway. He's succeeded in some ways; those oversized belted coats which emphasised the waist have been a big trend this season and will sell.
Despite Paglialunga's aspirations to reality, in many ways he was presenting us with a fantasy man, the kind of retro butch macho man - sharp in the boardroom and strong and sturdy in his personal life - that has fallen from favour on neighbouring runways. All in all one couldn't work out if the dated elements were deliberate or accidental, but then Paglialunga is still finding his feet - both at Jil Sander and within menswear as a category - so we should give him time to iron out the missteps.