Jil Sander retains continuity in new era

MILAN (AP) — The Jil Sander fashion house, which pioneered lux minimalism back in the 1990s along with Prada, showed a clean, moodily-colored fall menswear collection that stayed true to the house's trademark aesthetic despite the surprise departure of the German designer late last year.

The team assembled by Sander before she left made a strong statement Saturday with color, skillfully picking shades of eggplant, dark green and teal to send an electric jolt through the runway of fall grays and blacks.

Sander's trademark deftness with luxurious fabrics was evident in thick overcoats and jackets with surfaces crafted into an eye-catching "packing bubble" texture. Coats and boxy jackets were worn over high-waisted trousers, paired with thick-soled, chunky Oxfords for a vibe that was both relaxed and classic.

The collection shown on the first day of Milan's menswear collections, which run until Tuesday, was very much about continuity with the brand's design heritage, which exudes a severe elegance executed in interesting, expensive fabrics.

The show's eye-catcher were pants in a shimmering metallic fabric that looked as fluid as liquid mercury. But it's hard to imagine even the most fashion-forward metrosexual man going for the clutch bags shown on both Jil Sander and Costume National's runways in Milan on Saturday. Women know from experience how difficult they are to manage — make that impossible, if one hand is busy with a smartphone.

Sander stepped down from her namesake brand for the third time last October for personal reasons, sparking speculation about who would replace her. The crowd cheered loudly at the end of the show, but no one from Jil's team of successors came out to bow.

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