Milan fashion week’s wrapping up, and over the weekend designers like Dolce & Gabbana and Marni advocated for a melange of colorful clothing for spring. But Jil Sander, as envisioned by new creative directors Lucie Meier and Luke Meier, decided on a statement about the absence of hue, showing Klimt-style shirt-dresses in gleaming, pristine white.
There were other pieces made, they said, in homage to Jil Sander’s archive, but the white pieces, some diaphanous, hit the hardest because of their proximity to The Guilty Remnant, the silent repentant cult in The Leftovers which spent its time remembering the disappeared by chain smoking, not speaking, and wearing white.
The Meiers didn’t likely mean to invoke the prestige television show, but aside from the hue and the fabric there was a similar tenor about the show, which they seem to have termed NEU, the word for new in Jil Sander’s native German. The costumers on The Leftovers knew that in our era long white gowns, in certain Western cultures, evoke christenings, births; in certain Eastern ones, they are funereal, abnegation and appreciation in one. That show resonated with viewers because of its acceptance of ambiguity, and appreciation for the confounding nature of grief; loss, it said, need not equate a lack of hope.
There’s a hope in Jil Sanders’s gowns, in the deceptive simplicity of their shape and gait. They’re statement pieces in their own way, severe but pointedly feminine, the kinds of gowns that, as seen in the video above, sway and swirl around the ankles, like the first choice in romantic nightgown of an art gallerist specializing in minimalist art. It’s easy to fantasize, also, of wearing these in a haunted loft, stalking its halls in the dead of night and lighting your way with a Shiro Kuramata ghost lamp in lieu of a dripping candle. In my fantasy, though, all the Remnant smokes e-cigs and writes in moleskines instead of legal pads—do not fuck up the aesthetic alignment with color, my friends. The woman in these dresses is free to splay her legs, self-possessed, effortlessly cool, and read the book before she saw the TV show.