Jil Sander continues sensuous journey in Florence
Jil Sander, guest of honour of the 97th edition of Pitti Uomo, did not disappoint on Wednesday night, showing its new collection in the heart of the Santa Maria Novella basilica in Florence. Lucie and Luke Meier, who have been in charge of Jil Sander’s creative direction since 2017, proved once again they are masters at their craft, adding a new layer of substance to the label’s minimalist aesthetic. An unsuspected richness, subtly hinted as the subtext of a mystical journey of the senses.
The Meiers chose as venue for the show the refectory of the basilica, a Florentine Renaissance icon. The long hall, with its enfilade of thin, tall columns and cross-ribbed vaults, is immersed in darkness. The only source of light shines on mountains of yellow and orange Indian carnations heaped in the corners of the hall, emanating a vibrant, golden glow and a spicy scent which softly envelops the room. An invitation to travel and to meditate.
The models strode confidently across a space where time seemed suspended, clad in monochrome ensembles at once comfortably cut and sophisticated, featuring total looks of jacket-trousers-overcoat in tone-on-tone hues of black, navy, white and maroon. There is very little embellishment in Jil Sander's Fall/Winter 2020-21 men's collection, only a handful of abstract floral prints cropping up occasionally on silk shirts.
The materials used and their textures are substantial, like cashmere, tweed, fine wool and felt, as well as silk, cotton and leather. The clothes are sharply cut, exuding an air of fine craftsmanship and artisanal expertise. As Lucie Meier explained backstage, “you can sense the work of tailors in the collection, a hand-made feeling.”
The overcoats are long, austere, almost military, some of them featuring epaulettes. The capes are voluminous. The trousers are generously cut, with sizeable cuff hems, the jackets are ample, sometimes with a double row of buttons, to allow them to fit to size.
A hand-knitted maxi gilet-plastron drops down to the knees on the front, but stops short on the upper back, looking like a priest's chasuble. The oversized volumes featured in overcoats and sleeveless coats all hint at religious references, also found in the long tunics not unlike nuns’ skirts.
Jil Sander’s new menswear exudes an air of femininity: the models, sporting cross-shoulder maxi handbags, are swathed in tasselled, stole-style scarves and are adorned with silvery metal jewels that look like amulets. The style is sophisticated but unostentatious, defined by the details. From detachable silk collars positioned on the lapels of overcoats and jackets, to the tracery of metal pellets sketching ethnic-style decorations on some of the items.
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