MILAN, Italy — On Saturday the first Jil Sander’s womenswear collection was shown since the namesake designer left her signature brand for the third time. These stopgap collections always stir up the debate of the importance of having a designer at the helm of a brand. And pose the question: whether or not a team effort can be as effective as one built from the vision of a single artist.
In music, collaboration is often a key element in the success of a singer or band. And there are quite a few flourishing designer duos working in fashion. But for long term viability a fashion label needs to have a central force that can transmit the essence of the brand’s message in a clear and concessive way to the public.
With that being said, the collection sent out by the Sander design team was rather good. Clearly the brief from management was not to rock the boat and to produce clothing that would please fans of the Sander style. And the team came up with the goods.
There was the minimalistic tailored suiting and enveloping coats that felt very organic to the brand. Also the footwear, brightly coloured creepers, were a favourite subject on Instagram after the show.
But surprisingly there were also attempts at trying something a bit different for the label. The idea of slightly twisting and pulling the fabric on a myriad of shift dresses felt original. Especially when the fabric was embellished with floral motifs or stripes needle punched into the cloth in diagonal lines. Also, the use of a glossy coating and some shimmering fabric added a youthful ingredient into the mix. But the bulky high-waisted, bias cut skirts were a nonstarter.
Maybe Sander should take a page out of the Alexander McQueen brand’s playbook and appoint a designer from within the house. There certainly seems to be some potential there just waiting to be unearthed.