IT’S become less than unusual to be sitting at a Jil Sander show with another new creative director the headline before any clothes have even stepped out on to the catwalk. Today all eyes were on Rodolfo Paglialunga who took the helm following the departure of the label’s eponymous founder for the third time last year. Paglialunga – former womenswear design director at Prada and creative director at Vionnet – had a big job on his hands. Rome wasn’t built in a day and Sander comes with quite the legacy behind it – her and Raf Simons, both of whom made the label something of a cult in each of their own rights.
So what did Paglialunga do to put his stamp on the label? For starters he brought his own sense of femininity through unexpected touches – glittery optic shapes and graceful curves that featured after a solid school uniform opening of jumpers and shirts whose sleeves boasted prim turn-ups at the elbow. Here – as with the pulled-up-high nappa socks that came with each look – you could see that Prada train of thought stepping in. A new style note for the house of Sander.
Paglialunga had taken reference from the androgynous style of Swiss photographer Annemarie Schwarzenbach. And there was certainly a strong sense of masculinity – smart but loose tailored shorts that belted at the hip, Boy-Scout-style. In navy or burgundy or leather, these underpinned the collection, as did apron-style kilt skirts, again with hip belts fixing them in place, and with them no doubt a nod to the asymmetrical and bias-cut leanings of Vionnet.
The palette was tight and so, mostly, was the silhouette. It was all fairly restrained, which makes sense given the parameters Paglialunga was working in.
Sweatshirts were cut boxy and with short sleeves, a brail-like jargon motif featured throughout, broad open seams exposed on select dresses and geometric prints played out in fabric patchwork.
It was a neat and tidy, pleasing start. And as with any label complete with a new designer, it’s the second (and beyond) collection that will do even more talking.

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