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Jil Sander Fall 2012: Raf Simons' Stunning Swan Song

The Scene: A starkly minimalist room in Milan, entirely white save for the square pillars topped with pastel-colored bouquets that lined the runway. As it turns out, those flowers would reflect the color palette of the clothes to come.

The Soundtrack: Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You." Had we been at the show in person, we would have been bawling our eyes out from the second those first few guitar chords began.

The Look: This being Raf Simons' final show for Jil Sander after last Thursday's shocking announcement he was leaving the label, we had a feeling we were in for a strong collection—we just didn't realize precisely how strong. From the two-tone, closure-free coats the models clasped together like robes to the pastel colorblocked slipdresses to a lovely jumpsuit with a tiny cutout below the bust, these looks amazed. But this collection wasn't all about silky chemises and cocoon coats—Raf also showed off his technical skill with a number of beautifully draped, tucked and tailored tea-length dresses. In a nice nod to the chunky knits that have earned him tons of praise in recent seasons, the designer finished some graphic paneled frocks with cable-knit sleeves, and looks crafted from leather and PVC were more romantic than risqué. Little wonder that Raf took his post-show bow to a standing ovation—and was then called out to take a second bow, teary-eyed as he did so.

Pieces We Want: A collarless swing coat in cotton candy pink, a navy off-the-shoulder sculpted-bodice dress, a rose-toned satin slip, and a colorblocked dress with pink sweater sleeves. Really, though, what we want is to see Raf at Dior—or another big-time fashion house where his talent for couture tailoring can shine.

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