#SuzyMFW: A Human Vision of the Future

Jil Sander’s softly, softly approach

A human future’ was how Lucie and Luke Meier defined their second Jil Sander collection that was about ‘soft power’ which seems to be a current trend. It was linked here with a futuristic feeling that is also ‘on message’ and Lucie defined it clearly as: ‘looking to the future but in a warm and comfortable way’.

Having been recently to an exhibition in Frankfurt devoted to the German founder Jil Sander, I felt sensitive to how the creative duo is developing the legacy after several failures by previous designers to keep the flame of minimalism burning.

This Autumn/Winter 2018 season by the Meier couple was powerful in the way that the clothes seemed streamlined but soft and gentle. And they introduced other elements such as lilac floral embroidery on a long white coat or the duvet as garment and accessory.

This is a rare moment when you feel the choice of designers was spot on, but they have taken a humble approach, adding a little with each season. The arrival of colour after a white start had a strong effect, without seeming like a lurch in a different direction.

With the male and female collections shown together, the protective elements seemed to belong to both sexes. Yet it was the women who were literally wrapped round the shoulders in duvet fabric that served as a protective cloak.

The subject of Futurism has been bubbling through current fashion, alongside protectionism. The Meiers have embraced both, but in a plausible way and the ‘other-worldly’ element of their clothes looks great on a big stage. But it would also be good to see the pieces of this story literally unfolded up close.

Agnona’s Blade Runner

The 1982 film Blade Runner was a starting point for Agnona’s sweet but tough attitude, as designer Simon Holloway melded what he called ‘feminine unity’ with a ‘noir’ mood. And even if that French word means ‘black’ and defines a kind of moody movie from the 1960s, this collection seemed light in both colour and spirit.

Agnona is a female fashion house, affiliated with the Zegna men’s group, that understands the quality of fine fabric. This Autumn/Winter 2018 season was a reminder of traditional warm clothing such as knitwear, but at the same time the collection was literally light in its interpretation of insulating winter clothing. Shades of pink in shell colours gave warmth to the cold-weather clothes that included padded dresses mixed with smart-casual wear. The sweetness and light melded into protective made a good hard/soft mix.

With Anna Zegna in charge of this women’s brand and her brother Gildo overseeing the mightier men’s business, this collection seemed like a turning point for Agnona which, for the first time, seemed utterly credible. Maybe it is the current mood of intense feminism or just a designer hitting his stride, but each part of the collection seemed to work: particularly the padded pieces, primarily in lilac and lavender tones through moodier purples – and always with a surface treatment in the fabric to fit with the soft palette.

Holloway had created Shetland wool and speckled tweeds in Zegna’s own mills. Yet the most significant pieces were the prickly thistles left on each chair. They represented the natural materials that are used in wool production, giving it the tough and tender feel that fits with a modern women’s stance and suggesting the protective feeling that ran through this strong collection.