By Liana Satenstein, Staff Writer
Always a designer to use a line to define, it was not surprising that creative director, Raf Simons used a Piet Mondrian inspired runway at Jil Sander.Mondrian, a Dutch minimalist artist, was known for his precise outlines such as those seen in the famous “Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red” painting. Likewise, Simons’ translation of the authoritative Mondrian stroke was seen in the long, linear forms and the rectangular, geometric cuts on the runway. Inside those cubed confines, Simons filled up empty space with a story of the pristine but never virginal Jil Sander girl.
This time the story of the Jil Sander girl was penned to a Margaret Atwood theme of sterile, traditional modesty, spliced with a futuristic overhang (think “A Handmaid’s Tale”). In the beginning, she echoed the ideal, dedicated Soviet woman in the fields: at first the long, linear forms of dresses and peasant collars gave off a bucolic nostalgia that was quickly scythed out by the very sanitary whiteness of the fabric. In a deconstructed Bar jacket and skirt, she was the reflection of a quintessential, collected Park Avenue woman. She was a girl of obedience, going to bible study in her high collared, classic white button-up and robin’s-egg-blue-checkered, empire waist trousers that left no sight of skin, but a slight trace of curve. Simons color choice of gray, muted rose and lavender colors in his use of paisley patterns removed any hint of folksiness. There was a parade of funky purple and plaid dresses with sprouts of unruly tulle, yet Simons’ linear precision reinforced the minimalist discipline.
At the end of the collection, it was obvious that the theme was based on “control” but the question was, “who was in control?” Perhaps it was the knit shirts with prints of Picasso’s slightly crazed, genius face that gave us a hint. The Jil Sander girl traveled through those handmaid generations of confinement and restraint, but really, she had never looked better. No matter what it was –a slightly revealed crease of skin or the high slit slicing up a long skirt, you couldn’t help but feel that she had us in the palm of her hand the whole time.