Jil Sander, You’re Breaking My HEART! I Think


What do you get when you cross LSD with my parents’ shower curtain from 1985? That onesie and/or dress from Jil Sander‘s Spring/Summer, 2011 line.

Like Page McBee and Leo Plass, I’m also underwhelmed by fashion trends as of late.  I read somewhere that the dominant color for womenswear designers this season will be pink– how dreadful. Additionally, there hasn’t been anything to write home about in womenswear in a few seasons. It’s been yawnville all over the place. As for street style, also yawnsville. It seems that we’re now onto rehashing the 90s, which had even less to contribute to the aesthetic landscape than the 80s. But at least the 80s are on their way out. It only took ten fucking years.

But I digress (shocking, I know). I’m getting ready for a trip to the warm coastal embrace of the Yucatan and given the nickname “Mayan Riviera,” I thought I’d spend my time there lounging about in ensembles that evoke classic movies set on the Italian Riviera.  My first stop for inspiration was Sophia Loren, but second to that came Jil Sander– queen of classic with a well-executed quirk. Sander’s designs are consistently dependable for those of us who like clean lines and excellent German minimalism. Her Fall/Winter line from 08 & 09 is a perfect example of what I’ve always loved about Jil Sander– monochromatic color palates, sharp silhouettes, and just enough flair.



Tweed jackets from a German future are a win



This coat would make me feel like a classically trained burrito


I’m not 100% certain that Guinevere Van Seenus is wearing all Jil Sander in the following photo by Paolo Roversi, but let’s assume that she is so that I can include it.


Guinevere Van Seenus as the entire city of Berlin, circa 1919


When I really want to offset my freckles and blonde hair, I look to Jil Sander to show me how to seem like a cold-hearted heiress.



Get off of my horse or I'll have you shot


Sander does classic better than nearly every other womenswear designer. Which is why I’m having a hard time getting behind her Spring/Summer line this year. Apparently, Raf Simons decided to take the line in a maximalized direction this season. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something doesn’t sit right with Simon’s pop art colors and circus tent lines. Though he IS très avante-garde. So.


I think I just went blind






You may have noticed that I haven’t really worked myself up into  a polemic froth. I’m torn. On one hand, I feel really annoyed that I went to Jil Sander for classic, monochromatic inspiration and instead got a cavalcade of carnival colors. But the other part of me that loves absurdity is really drawn to the gigantic leg widths and ridiculous color combos– they’re playful and energizing and you could smuggle wild animals across borders just by strapping them to your thighs. Simons kept the razor sharp silhouettes, but added billow, which is a nice contrast, and the designs still seem classically-inspired.   I even adore a few of the pieces.



"I am an exaggerated sunset, I am an exaggerated sunset, I am an exaggerated sunset."


"I am a ship's sail, I am a ship's sail, I am a ship's sail"



"I am a fashion snake, I am a fashion snake, I am a fashion snake."



"I am extremely comfortable."


Actually, I would 100% wear that striped ship’s sail and that extremely comfortable onesie on the Mayan Riviera.

Oooh! White on ecrue! Subtly rebellious.


"I am pure as the driven snow."


Ok, never mind. Over the course of writing this post I have nearly completely changed my mind. My new position is this: Jil Sander needs to stay away from prints (except for stripes) and stick to solids. I appreciate Raf Simons’ experiment with maximalism within a line known for minimalism, but the most compelling designs of the Spring/Summer lineup are the ones that keep undertones of Sander starkness while exaggerating form, function, and hue. Incorporating extreme prints actually tends to minimize the maximalism. How ironic.


About Michael von Braithwaite

Does it look like I'd wear it on a boat, at an eccentric person's estate or accompanied by a peacock on a chain? Yeah, I'll probably buy that.


  1. Lizzy

    I complete agree with the Prints. *cringes*

    Would it be odd for me to say that the line reminds of Keith Haring?
    Rounded out figures, color choices, and the dissatisfied look of all the models… how very 1985!

  2. I am disappointed in the billowy prints, except for I got to try and spell “billowey” I found a minimialist Jil Sander button-down dress at Goodwill which is too big so I wear it as a coat. One of my best scores.

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