Who would have ever thought that one would say Jil Sander has some seriously big shoes to fill when she returns to designing her namesake label? Raf Simons' impact on fashion while at Jil Sander — from color-blocking and peplums to pairing long skirts with simple tops — cannot be underestimated and much of what we've been seeing on designer runways (and not to mention at H&M and Zara) ties back to his influence (and in particular his Spring 2011 Sander collection…I still dream of his floor length striped dresses).
Simons' last collection was a breathtaking parade of clothing that were not only impeccably cut and tailored, but rife with new silhouettes. Fall 2012, like a number of past Simons-designed collections, truly felt like it was brimming with things you hadn't seen before. Among the stand-outs were loosely fitted pastel or camel coats lined with contrasting colors that were almost angelically feminine, yet had an ease and sportiness to them despite their obvious elegance. If there's one thing that's understated in fashion it's the difficulty of being fresh and innovate (not to mention interesting!) while maintaining a minimalist aesthetic, but Simons' mastery of fabrication and tailoring makes it look easy.
A variety of powdery fifties-style coats and fitted dresses were followed by deep red and black looks that included two particularly noteworthy ones, each with a chest-area peep hole. Whether or not Simons will in fact be Galliano's successor at Dior remains to be seen, but there's no doubt that he's worthy, if not the most worthy, name being thrown around.