Jil Sander's Milan comeback warmly welcomed
After a seven-year absence, the German designer Jil Sander made her comeback on the Milan catwalks on Saturday to a rapturous reception with her menswear collection for spring-summer 2013.
Visibly moved, the 68-year-old queen of minimalism, her blue-eyes framed by her trademark blonde haircut, emerged in an immaculate white linen shirt to take her bow and accept the warm applause for her show.
"Minimalist is what I was, and minimalist is how I'll stay" could be the mantra for the designer, whose show was the first down the runway in the menswear shows which end on Tuesday.
Her vision of menswear is evolving, the house explained in a press release. "The Jil Sander man likes form and formality. The core of the collection is the precision cut, executed with a knife."
Sander, who took back the reins from Belgian designer Raf Simons after he was named to Dior in April, experimented with layering and eye-catching contrasts: the playful pairing of a sleeveless blue coat with a white shirt, cropped pants baring ankles and bermuda shorts morphing into culottes.
There was a whiff of nostalgia for well-scrubbed schoolboys in their blouses in the 19th century or jaunty sailors on shore leave in the silhouettes.
A midnight blue cardigan with acidic lemon, emerald and scarlet stripes was a nod at the abstract painter Piet Mondrian.
Blocks of primary colours, red, green and blue, dominated the collection, while natural fibres -- poplin, cotton, silk, mohair, wool and linen -- had pride of place for fabrics.
Sander, who founded the house that bears her name in 1968, left in 2004 after falling out with its new owners, the Italian group Prada. Since then she has collaborated with various outfits, notably the Japanese group Uniqlo.