Eight months have passed now since Rodolfo Paglialunga took creative direction at Jil Sander and, unlike last season where his work was rushed, he’s had time to put some thought into his work. The difference shows dramatically with clean lines and well-tailored looks that are much more polished and refined than what we saw for spring/summer.
Starting with a runway set that consisted of different colored free-standing columns of varying heights, the emphasis was strongly on lines that were precise, each piece fitting carefully with the next, and ensembles so well constructed as to appear effortless. There is a certain level of minimalism that is the house DNA, to be sure, but Paglialunga is not afraid of just enough tailoring to give looks a hint of feminine shape and understands the value of a well-placed belt, which here come much more narrow than what we’ve seen with other labels this season.
What makes this collection work well, especially for daywear, is the use of diagonal lines. At times, they have the effect of creative color blocking, giving structure to pops of color, especially orange, that stand out dramatically from a palette that is largely composed of navy blue and winter white. Other times, Paglialunga uses the lines to create the soft illusion of basket weave, hinting at it just enough that one recognizes the motif without actually committing to it. The diagonal lines provide an attractive yet very neat counterpoint to the horizontal lines of the silhouettes. If this were music, I’d insert a reference to Mozart here; the lines are just that precise.
When Paglialunga does depart from the strict lines, he does so with considerable drama. There’s one, and just one, shearling coat whose abstract design pops with yellow, green and blue that is going to stand out no matter where it is worn. Later, there is a pixelated graphic print that reminds one of an old black and white television transmission full of interference. The print works best as a coat, but as a skirt it was too obscured to really get a good feel for the ensemble.
If two makes a trend, then one wants to be cautiously aware of the turtleneck dickies Paglialunga uses here. We saw them at Numero Ventuno and seeing them again here had a polarizing effect. Either one loves them or hates them; there is no middle ground. The look where he puts just the dickie under a coat, though, was quite interesting and perhaps one worth exploring further.
Paglialunga makes a firm statement with this Jil Sanders collection, one that not only says he is in control, but that he has set a firm course for the label’s future. Given the attractiveness of today’s collection, I predict some strong profits in their near future.