Way back, for A/W 12, Raf Simons showed a collection of shiny wipe-clean garments for Jil Sander. His were black leather and PVC, shown on a rubber catwalk. They were sexual, fetishistic and fantastic. Today, for S/S 16, Rodolfo Paglialunga, Jil Sander’s new-ish creative director, seemed keen to pick up the wipeable mantle. Except his pieces were made from not only leather but coated canvas and parachute nylon. While Simons’ were clean, bold and shown with conviction, these were cluttered, full of ‘design details’ like straps, name tags, fastenings, deep pockets and patches and hefty zips.
At first glance, it looked like he was working around a theme of utility, but why so many superfluous details then? Shirts featured oversized pockets with embellishment on top of that, trousers came panelled in different hues, overcoats came with so many different patches you wondered if the wearer would slot in his wallet and then lose it for days. Indeed, this collection felt cluttered, too full of ideas but none quite strong enough. Jil Sander is all about design, not unnecessary details or tricks. Paglialunga is trying to make Jil Sander relevant to a younger audience. It will take more than some high shine finishes to do that.