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Milan Fashion Week: At Jil Sander, the new color guard

September 26, 2010 | 11:31 am

Sander1At Jil Sander, designer Raf Simons' extreme color story packed more of a punch than almost anything else we'd seen so far this season.

Although loosely inspired by classical couture, there was nothing retro about this collection, shown at Milan Fashion Week. Instead, Simons tweaked traditional elements of couture -- voluminous skirts and blouson jackets, peplums and bustles -- for today, playing with proportion, mixing in sportswear and working with modern fabrics, such as lightweight techno taffeta, nylon and gabardine.

Set to a soaring soundtrack from the film "Psycho," which Hitchcock famously shot in black and white because he thought it would be too scary in Technicolor, the models lit up the runway in shades of electric blue, acid green, tomato red, shocking pink and traffic cone orange. (Because there is nothing so dangerous as a woman in living color.)

The clothes were nearly all monochromatic (save from a few awning stripes and watercolor blooms), which made for a cinematic effect. And the shoes had glossy flourescent soles, making it look as if the models were walking on glowing light. (Take that, Christian Louboutin!)

The show began with long, neon-colored evening skirts and simple white T-shirts. (How amazing to bring back the evening-skirt-and-T-shirt combo! Reminds me of when Sharon Stone wore a Gap button down with a Vera Wang evening skirt at the ’98 Oscars.)  Sander11

Trousers were supersized and pleated, layered under oversized windbreakers, or slim blazers and T-shirts in contrasting colors. Tennis-ball yellow, combined with hot pink and emerald green, for example -- which made for a creative take on the season's pervasive colorblocking trend.

Back vents or storm flaps on jackets and trench coats were folded inside out, turning the colorful taping on inside seams into a decorative flourish. Full-length nylon duster coats were so airy and light, they resembled kites.

Matte fuchsia lipstick, mirrored sunglasses and grocery bags as handbags completed this powerful vision of effortless chic, which hit Milan like a bolt of lightning.

-- Booth Moore

Jil Sander spring-summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery

Photos: Looks from the Jil Sander spring-summer 2011 collection at Milan Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times