JIL SANDER’S LATEST UNIQLO COLLECTION launched October 7; the store opened at 8. I thought that by arriving around 10 I’d beat the pre-work rush. Nope. It took an hour to reach the curtained-off section of the SoHo emporium that houses the +J line. Regular readers of my blog know that I’m crazy about these simple, well-priced clothes, but even so, you have to be a little bit nuts to wait that long to spend money.
I dressed for action, in gray cable-knit leggings (from Strawberry!), an off-black denim skirt, striped socks, Y-3 high-tops, and a black jacket. There was a lot of black on the line. Also a lot of men. And a huge age range. It was a well-dressed queue, in a cleaned-up beatnik/scruffy-corporate way. Some people, though, were clearly Label Hounds. The woman in front of me sported a (real) Chanel bag and ballerina flats. People were glued to their electronic devices (can you imagine the tweets? I’m bored, so bored—when will I get in?! Fascinating) or else staring into space, their expressions a combination of ennui and avidity.
Once inside, I realized it was war, albeit reasonably polite war, made even more confusing by the profusion of neutral colors and lack of larger sizes. I kept hearing salespeople say, “A lot of things sell out on launch day,” and cramming yet another item into the basket provided at the door. When I had made the rounds two or three times, I positioned myself near a mirror on the selling floor and tried stuff on right there.
Was it worthwhile? Sort of. Problem is, when you expend that much effort getting in, you can’t walk out empty-handed. I passed on a tempting tuxedo jacket (too small, too shiny), a white shirt with a tucked placket you can button on or off (too gimmicky), and a pale gray tee-shirt (too dull). But I bagged a well-cut hoodie with a rounded hem, jodhpur-like fleece-lined leggings, and a cropped puffer jacket the color of anthracite.
The winter clothes, frankly, are not as cheap as the summer ones, kind of in the Gap range. But I left feeling oddly righteous, as if I had earned my fashion booty. Maybe it’s the hunting and gathering instinct from a far-distant past, when bear-skin vests and bone pendants were all the rage.