MILAN, ITALY [JANUARY 17, 2015] – Rodolfo Paglialunga’s menswear debut for Jil Sander was less jarring than his first women’s show back in September, but he was still absorbed by tricky volumes below the waist. Here it was oversize trousers with a big inverted pleat. “Elegant masculinity” was Paglialunga’s stated aim, and maybe those trousers only looked odd because we’ve grown accustomed to more linear silhouettes. Once the designer matched them to the oversize coats he also showed, a pleasing ’40s synchronicity asserted itself. You could picture a contemporary Humphrey Bogart type.

At this stage in the Sander game, we scarcely need to refer back to the label’s namesake as a benchmark. Paglialunga should stand or fall on his own merits, not be dogged by comparisons. You could see him working on a wardrobe here, attempting a meld of the fashionable and the functional. The trick for any designer is to sustain interest in such a challenge. In this collection, Paglialunga’s color palette showed promise, but it was the coats that won the day for him.

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