On the Runway

An Emotional Raf Simons Presents His Final Collection For Jil Sander

The Belgian designer took the house to new heights

Raf Simons Final Collection For Jil Sander

Photo by Getty Images

A standing ovation, hooting & hollering, and a curtain call—what a finale for Raf Simons as he presented his final collection for Jil Sander. The label’s founder, Jil herself, is returning to the house next week after an eight year absence.

During that time, the Belgian Simons, has brought a new level of acclaim to the label. A critical favourite among international editors, his designs over the past few seasons have delivered a laser-sharp focus on mid-century couture shapes (voluminous coats, peplums) and colour. It’s a look that has inspired other designers and mass merchants. The flaming orange skirt by Joe Fresh that Coco Rocha wore on our February cover reminds me of one of Simons’ skirts.

For his final collection, Simons continued the couture volume with ’50s inspired ultra-minimal coats—no fastenings other than a satin sash. In between came whisper-thin knit dresses and a final grouping of black dresses with what looked like black leather insets. Shoes were high with narrow pointy heels and a stunning patchwork mix of patent, metallic and matte leather.

Peter Philips, Chanel’s Creative Director for makeup, crafted a beautiful face with defined fine brows, minimal eye makeup and cherry red lips. Hair was ironed flat and caught back in simple ponytails. In a word: stunning.

Speculation has been about Simons future since the news broke earlier this week. Where to next? Dior? Apparently not. YSL? Who knows? My hope is that he will launch a collection under his own name. He’s a master of his craft. Jil Sander has some mighty big shoes to step back into.

Photos to come

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Watch now: Finale at Jil Sander Fall 2012