Jil Sander asserts tailored heritage

BY DANIELA PETROFF AP Fashion Writer Published:

MILAN (AP) -- Jil Sander is back, and it shows. Belgian designer Raf Simons, now with Dior, had livened up the minimalist label with bold colors and inventive styles. But since the company's founder took back the reins a year ago, the style has reverted to precise, disciplined tailoring, for the most part in no-nonsense colors.

Big double-breasted coats, jackets with sculpted shoulders, pleated skirts and tailored dresses, all combine to create a fashion code based on geometric shapes in the collection presented Saturday.

Sander's designing discipline jibes with the winter trend of constructed, almost architectural styles, seen on many runways of the current preview showings for winter 2014.

But if the style and, sometimes even the fabric, are rigid, the effect of the latest Sander collection is more sensual than sensible, obtained by the generous pleating and draping used throughout the show.

Although the wools in the collection are soft, leather and even fur tends to be stiff. The new winter shades are berry blue and a warm shade of apricot, the designer's shift away from her traditionally drab palette.

To underline the disciplined look, models had their hair severely pulled back, and wore mannish walking shoes with a thick high heel.