Given that I own a good portion of the Spring 2010 Jil Sander collection (thank you, MAC Modern Appealing Clothing in San Francisco!), I awaited the Spring 2011 Raf Simons-designed collection with great anticipation. And boy, did it deliver.
Inspired by "seeing a girl in a ten Euro T-shirt and a couture skirt," Simons opened the show with a look just like that – a carefully crafted couture skirt worn with a simple Hanes-like shirt. Closer inspection, however, revealed the two pieces were actually sewn together.
Simons repeatedly played with volume, proportion, and pockets for this high-impact style throughout the show. Simons’s ensembles included a peplum-topped gown bottom in orange, a loose green gown bottom, and a single volume pink gown. The show then proceeded into patterned looks that continued on this theme of mixing couture with casual.
Among the standout looks was a bright floral gown paired with a day jacket. The color palette was simply fabulous, particularly when it came to bright solids, stripes, and florals. The mix of structure (think boxy tops and fitted jackets) and sculptured styles in the gowns and peplums, and billowing looks in the printed maxi dresses were awesome.
Simons’s work has always been about minimalism and precision. The designer did not deviate from that in his collection this season. Who else could have models wearing three layers of jackets without looking bulky?
Simons’s slim cut jackets and narrow pants done in a slew of colors complemented his evening wear. His handbags were also noteworthy. At first glance, I thought Simons took a page from the Spring 2011 Missoni collection; it looked as though the designer sent out plastic bags you’d expect to find in a supermarket. As it turned out, what looked like a simple plastic tote was a mix of leather and vinyl – another nod to Simons’s technical abilities.