Wednesday 30th March

| BY Dominic Cadogan

A Look Back To Jil Sander Autumn 2012

“If I could turn back time. If I could find a way…” sang Cher in 1989. Unfortunately since then we have not found a way to turn back time, yet. But, we can visit the ghost of fashions past as we look back at some of our favourite shows over the years photographed by our favourite backstage wizard Jason Lloyd-Evans. So, first – Jil Sander AW12.

I’ve written a farewell letter once already to Raf Simons after leaving his position at Dior – an unexpected exit. However, I want you to cast your minds back to February 2012 back to Simons’ last show for Jil Sander.

We all knew it was coming, like an inevitable divorce. That’s not to say that made it any easier to accept. In his tenure, the Belgian designer turned a house infamous for strict minimalism into a one of modern femininity and elegance. And the AW12 collection, his last, was no exception to this.

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At the time Simons cited inspiration of “a woman in her own domestic environment with husband or lover” but what seemed most apparent was an idea of the fragility of femininity. And even in it’s passivity, it was a strong message echoing on all levels. From the pastel palette, to the plexiglass caged flowers on the set, even the way the models meandered down the runway clutching their opera coats at their breast it screamed (or more appropriately whispered) an idea of romance.

And it really was all in the details. Blink and you’d miss them. At a cursory glance the collection may just appear to be simple, but beautiful. Yet, even 4 years later they don’t feel outdated and more importantly are clothes that women wanted to (and still want to) wear.

It was quite simply, clever. Giving the illusion of showing off a lot, whilst actually showing off very little. From the sheer peekaboo panels in the front and back of dresses to the slits that revealed nothing save for more fabric underneath it was an understated kind of sexy, sensible even.

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And the ideas of romance, fragility and femininity kept appearing throughout the collection. The colour combinations of red and nude, the polite pinks, lilacs and nudes. Not to mention the fresh out of the bed slip dresses worn simply underneath an ankle skimming opera coat. There was also the patent leather, almost like a trash bag dominating the closing looks of the collection. But still not overtly sexy, like the rest of the collection none of it was above to knee. Sensible. Need I go on?

The show earned Simons not just a standing ovation, but also an encore. And it was emotional. Model Kinga Rajzak, at the back of the finale line burst into tears – see, fragility. But even with the tears it didn’t feel like a sad farewell, rather a celebration. It was a culmination of 7 years evolving the house and he left on the high. It was a journey that came to an end just at the right time. And silver lining, it allowed Raf to make his mark on another iconic house. And even though that has now come to an end we want more.

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Patience will have to be the virtue here though as for now Raf continues to make waves with his eponymous menswear line, but there is no doubt women are longing for him to return and bring a little modern romance back to fashion. I know I am.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans

www.jilsander.com