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Jil Sander Womenswear A/W11

Raf Simons mixed sports influences with couture elements in a collection of padded silk and pixellated florals on boxy coats and belted tunics

While Miuccia Prada likes to surprise every season, Raf Simons’ collections for Jil Sander always have an element of continuity to them, with each one being a logical extension of the other. Following the success of the voluminous maxi silhouette he presented last season, the Belgian designer has once again delved into couture for his inspiration, only this time, the clothes appeared a lot more wearable. An all-black outfit opened the show, establishing black and navy as the collection’s dominating colours. Sportswear references echoed in the hooded knits and stirrup trousers, which were offset by elegant boxy coats and belted tunics.

The couture element, which Simons has so succesfully explored last season, also continued within the fabrics and prints. Some looks were made entirely of padded silk, while others employed velour, which was cut so precisely, it seemed to envelop the body like a stiff cocoon. Large pixellated florals were emblazoned on the collection’s voluminous dresses and wedges, giving a nod to both the romanticism that inspires Simons, as well as the legendary fabric house Bucol.

Dazed Digital: What kind of images inspired the collection?
Raf Simons: I was looking at Louise Dahl-Wolfe’s mid-century images of people in skiing resorts. Another great inspiration was Diane Arbus. Perhaps it was the psychological link. She also came from a fashion background, but was always attracted to something a little bit more twisted. So throughout her life, she worked on fashion images, but also kept taking pictures of people in mental insitutions or nudist camps on the side. That variety is something that really excites me.

DD: And how does that character refer to the Hitchcock heroine that you explored last season?
Raf Simons: I think they’re quite similar. I’ve always loved the idea of a woman, who appreciates fashion, but also likes to be a bit disturbed.

DD: The show also featured some of your signature strong colours. What is about brights that attracts you so much?
Raf Simons
: Well, I think that every year I’m beginning to feel more and more comfortable with colours. The brights also have a couture aspect, which is something I’ve been applying to the volumes and lengths to my clothes. It’s very exciting for me to be part of that world.

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