For three seasons Raf Simons at Jil Sander has indulged his own couture fantasies that would normally seem worlds away from the universe he has cultivated at his eponymous label and at Jil Sander. A strange exploration of bourgeois, old world and misogynistic codes of mid-century womanhood, removed only slightly from their typically dreadful context (one can only shudder at the word “ladylike” as a serious adjective to describe contemporary fashion), the very antithesis to the street inspired men’s wear that Simons had begun with and the triumphant feminism that Sander had so well defined. It was Simons’ “couture trilogy” which at its best managed to simultaneously shift our ideas on minimalism and maximalism, rarefied tradition and bright bold futurism, archaic sexism and modern feminism, tearing apart our notions of these binaries, switching them and swapping them, replaced with a not totally new (it can be argued that Isaac Mizrahi did much of the leg work years before) but still a very updated key in which to decode these ideas for right now.
That it would all happen under the banner of Jil Sander is both curious and telling; a candid sign of Simons’ tendency for transgression and his ability to summon a world of his own in the most unexpected circumstances. Simons’ “couture” efforts have been uncanny, as beautiful as they are startling, proving Simons’ prowess as a women’s wear designer and his ablity to put forth a new attitude towards histories and legacies, grandeur and glamour and modern feminity–to create a vital and relevant context for it all to exist together today. He is adept, he is masterful. And apparently, according to this morning’s WWD, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, in their consideration of Christian Dior’s successor, think so, too.