High price of fashion without tricks

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The Independent Online
A GERMAN designer brought a touch of realism to the Milan catwalks yesterday - with clothes that women can actually wear.

Jil Sander showed a refined, pared down collection of beautifully cut trouser suits in polar white or grey Glen check, ankle-skimming dresses, filmy layers of linen and slender waistcoats, worn above bare skin but cleverly shaped to reveal nothing.

Not from her platformed orthopaedic shoes, or teetering high heels, or college campus pixie boots. Not from her high-knickered bikinis worn under sheer shift dresses, or clothes for teenagers. Which is good news. The bad news is that this level of design and her luxurious fabrics make for high prices. A suit costs more than pounds 1,000.

Her appeal, to those who can afford her, is that her clothes bridge the gap between the romanticised vision of femininity clung to by French and Italian designers and the uncompromising rigour of the Japanese. Sander doesn't shock. Instead she strips back, she simplifies, she refines.

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