Until this week, I had missed Dana Thomas’ profile for the Wall Street Journal on Jil Sander and her return to her eponymous label (written last November). Thomas’ piece helped me understand that Jil Sander’s latest three collections (Spring 2013 Menswear, Spring 2013 Womenswear and now Fall 2013 Menswear) are attempts at steering the brand back towards its roots. (According to its website, Jil Sander is a “high-end luxury brand epitome of modernity and sophistication”.) It is clear (now with hindsight) that her brand had been derailed since selling it to the Prada Group, and its subsequent acquisitions by private investors. I find it a shame no-one found a way to capitalise off the success of creative director Raf Simons, who at least brought the brand back into the public consciousness (and relevance) while he worked at the brand between 2005-2012, but at least he now has a home (and business model) that recognises his talent.
My first impressions of this collection (and the previous two) were of disinterest and boredom, but what quickly followed upon closer inspection and repeated viewing was a growing respect for their silence and craftsmanship. Furthermore, it is something like this collection that I could actually picture myself wearing (if I could afford it), rather than say the collection I found most rewarding this season. As Thomas points out, great attention is paid to the materiality of this work, and unfortunately (without encountering it in person) this (crucial) detail is lost to us who view it online like this. Buyers and viewers in person seem to warm to her recent collections; clearly they are able to see the precision with which Sander works on levels that most of us never even notice.