Another series of raw seams sealed a second superlative for Milan Fashion Week. After Prada's remarkable postcard to sunless beaches of the past (or future?), Raf Simons's collection for Jil Sander played the game of hide-and-seek better than any other in recent memory. The understated sexiness of the collection was a marked difference from the va-va-Versace revival that's hitting the catwalks in other house presentations, but it was infinitely more alluring.
The show opened with straightforward shift dresses making good use of the fabric leftovers they were scissored out of. Scraps of dress material were attached to the opening cream sheath for a minimalist's method of embellishment. There was a black version, and a couple more in sheer or shiny fabrics that floated themselves down the runway.
The shimmering violet and golden version appeared to make it's own light, and was exactly what I would picture a dress made of sunset soaked water vapor would look like. The black net version, austerely adorned with rectangular bits of it's own material, was a darker version of and for night.
How Simons managed to make a duo of mylar-look dresses appear minimalist is mind boggling, and speaks loudly to his talents as a designer. The woven dresses and tops that hid and revealed skin in a game of show and tell were offset nicely by boxy, big suit jackets, skirts, and shorts that concealed enough to give the show balance.
In fact, the wearability and functionality of many of the pieces was so practical and smart of Simons. It was smart, but not sell-out. None of the pieces felt forced or inserted into the lineup to give the department stores something to sell. Instead, the whole collection remained cohesive despite the strong differences between some of the adjacent looks. Again, this shouts (in a whispered way) design talent.
The tied, knotted, and wrapped dresses that came near the end of the show were fond odes to artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude who famously tied up monuments, museums, and buildings throughout their collaborative career. The match of aesthetics is apt. Both the wrapped monuments and the wrapped dresses are revealing and concealing. They conceal their exact complexities and reveal the talents of their makers. Also, the shoes in this show were striking and gorgeous. Wood, iron, and snipped fabric? It all works so well.
All photos from Style.com.