Minimalism That Has Jil Sander All Over It

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

c.2014 New York Times News Service

Rodolfo Paglialunga, the new creative director of Jil Sander, unveiled his first collection for the house Saturday afternoon in Milan. Paglialunga, a 47-year-old Italian designer, was greeted by rapturous applause after his simple, androgynous looks came down the runway and he took his (running) bow. The Jil Sander line has been through plenty of discord — Sander abruptly left the brand in October, for the third time in her career — so the fashion world was looking closely at what Paglialunga, a veteran of Vionnet and Prada, did right out of the gate. On Sunday, he spoke about his first collection.

Q: We’re sitting in the house of Jil Sander. It comes with a very specific aesthetic, this sort of austere minimalism. How do you work with that? How did you work with that in this collection?

A: For me, it’s quite easy. I grew up in fashion during the ’90s, and that was the best period of minimalism. Also, I worked with Prada at that time. It was very different from now. It was more minimalist. I love because it’s part of my experience, actually, to work on minimalism. But here, for me, I don’t want to talk about minimalism, because now I don’t know what that means exactly. Now, everything has changed. For me, when you talk about minimalism, that puts me in the ’90s. I’d like to talk about contemporary ways. Simplicity is minimalism, probably. Uniform is minimalism, probably. I work on simplicity.

Q: How important, especially at a house like this, is the Jil Sander DNA? How much do you have to maintain the classic look? And how much can you stray?

A: I think I’m completely free. The DNA is also part of my kind of life. I don’t like to go to red carpet events or parties. I’m not a party boy. I love to see people during the day working and living comfortably. I like to dress these kind of people. Each girl yesterday could be out on the street and feel comfortable with each of the looks. For me, that’s important. I work around chicness and sophistication, not so glamorous. A little bit understated.

Q: You work on this for months. These are your babies. And then suddenly the girls come down the runway, and it’s off to the world. And people have quick judgments when they see those girls. And they said: This looks like Jil Sander. Is that what you wanted to convey?

A: It is Jil Sander. My intention is to respect the DNA of the brand but also because I have a lot of respect for Ms. Jil Sander. I could do something completely crazy but it’s not interesting. We have to develop the brand starting from the first point and starting from what Jil Sander did in the best time. And I recognize myself in what I did yesterday.

Q: You said before that you feel good about this one and that you don’t care what others think. How often does that happen? Do you usually feel, hey, that one was great?

A: Not all the time. Sometimes I was very comfortable, other days I was self-critical. Sometimes it’s a very difficult process, especially at the beginning. I’m very self-critical. I remember Sunday of the last week, I received the first part of the collection. It was just a small part. It was completely crazy. I didn’t recognize anything I decided in, you know, July. It was completely crazy, “Oh, my God, this is horrible.” But the day after, more stuff arrived and I think, OK, it’s interesting. I started to put some stuff together and I tried to mix color, and I think, hmm, interesting.