Between the recent whirl of couture and menswear shows, it can be easy for the pre-fall collections (which have been trickling in since November) to get lost in the shuffle. But in addition to restocking stores with transitional new clothes to love, pre-fall offers important insights into what designers will be sending down their fall runways. This season delivered ideas both new and familiar, including: red suits, '40s-inflected dresses, and a bevy of impactful prints. Read on for our full pre-fall trend report, which just might serve as a preview of what's to come when fall 2017 fashion month kicks off next week.
Pick a card, any card. For pre-fall, designers chose the queen of diamonds, whipping up sharp suits in look-at-me red. At Lanvin, Bouchra Jarrar channeled a tomboyish charm with a scarlet tuxedo that had just the right amount of slouch. A standout cherry-hued suit from Givenchy was nipped and tucked to ultra slim effect; while Stella McCartney's boxy jacket and stovepipe trousers gave us postmodern David Byrne vibes.
How sweet it is! The '80s may be dominating fashion trends right now, but pre-fall introduced a fresh 1940s current in the form of ladylike dresses that had a cinematic quality. You could picture Bottega Veneta's model Aymeline Valade as a modern silver screen star in the flirty patchwork frock and strappy heels she wore to open the lookbook. The same goes for Miu Miu's ankle-length, kelly green number clustered with sparkly broaches.
Argyle, the preppiest of plaids, got a decidedly cool makeover this season thanks to labels like Stella McCartney, Sonia Rykiel and MSGM. McCartney showed head-to-toe knit looks featuring the classic diamond pattern in eye-catching color combinations. Pringle of Scotland also went all-in with argyle (a signature pattern for the brand since the 1920s) which was modernized here with piled-on layers and a bias slant.
Playing the role of Zelda Fitzgerald in the new Amazon series "Z," Christina Ricci perfectly summarized our approach toward full-on sequins — like the ones we saw during pre-fall — when her character stumbles across a perfectly impractical, dazzling confection. "That's the fun," she says. "You're practically obligated to find an occasion worthy of the thing." From the paillette-encrusted tuxedo at Chanel to shimmering dresses from Valentino and Erdem, there was no shortage of fantastic, flashy looks that would earn the distinction of "doing the most."
Beyond the Fray
It wasn't long ago that fringe became a little too ubiquitous in fashion. After taking a necessary break, fringe returned to the spotlight for pre-fall. This time around, the effect was less bohemian, more frayed or unraveled. We noticed the come-undone look at Christopher Kane, Balmain, Sacai, Victoria Beckham and more.
Ultra Chic Sweats
As sweat suits have become increasingly popular in recent seasons, they've also become increasingly "fashion." Behold the ornate, floral print set from Gucci's latest outing — complete with peaked shoulders and stirrups (!) — or the leisurewear equivalent of palazzo pants, which were surprisingly elegant in French terry at Adam Lippes and Off-White. Sweats have never been chicer.
For the first time in its history, the Doomsday Clock (a real thing!) has ticked closer to midnight... aka worldwide, man-made annihilation. Coupled with the swift series of hideous events that have gone down since Donald Trump took office, camouflage is all of a sudden looking more relevant than ever — and designers showed plenty of it for pre-fall. At Versace, streetwise parkas and fur capes came in an aptly titled "barocco-flage" pattern. Sacai, Nili Lotan, and others followed suit with urban looks for blending in or standing out.
We know, we know: "Florals for spring? Groundbreaking." But the way designers showed florals for pre-fall felt novel. They piled on the blooms — and in many cases, from head to toe. At Valentino, for example, an intarsia floral fur coat was layered over separates in the same print. Joseph Altuzarra showed a tapestry floral dress that looked fantastic paired with matching knee-high boots. Plus, Kenzo's Carol Lim and Humberto Leon sent mashed-up hibiscus patterns down their recent fall menswear runway. This look is definitely not for wallflowers.
All About Lace
What hasn't been said about lace? It may not be a "new" trend, but designers gave us plenty of reasons to fall in love with the stuff all over again for pre-fall. A few of the frilly things we're swooning over right now include Dior's black crocheted pantsuit, Chloe's floaty LBD, and the pink doily dress paired with vampy lace tights at Fendi.
And now for a word about headgear. Thanks to celebs like Rihanna, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid — and a certain Georgian designer who sent branded baseball caps down the runways at Balenciaga and Vetements — "dad hats" have emerged as a popular street style trend this year. During pre-fall, we spotted embellished lids at Miu Miu, newsboy styles from Dior, and Dion Lee's simple felt caps that gave off a post-normcore vibe.
Unconventional Animal Prints
Fashion has its fair share of cat ladies (hello, Miuccia Prada and Grace Coddington), but designers took their animal obsession to a whole new level this pre-fall season. Gucci's Alessandro Michele crammed entire menageries into single outfits — like pairing a rabbit sweater with a tiger fur chubby and a kitty-printed skirt. Elsewhere, Coach 1941 showed intarsia sweaters featuring lovable dogs (golden retrievers and Irish setters), and the main takeaway from the Victoria Victoria Beckham collection was an intriguing swan print.
There is clearly no shortage of prints for pre-fall. From argyle to florals to camo and more, what's noteworthy is the level of commitment designers are making to prints — showing them full-on instead of sprinkled in. Another pattern trend making the rounds this season? Kitschy graphics a la Givenchy's retro tiled suit (complete with a matching blouse and boots) or Fendi's geometric shirtdress.
The past few seasons have been defined by a relaxed attitude (think: pajamas, sweats, slips, etc.), but designers haven't abandoned structure altogether. There was a new emphasis on volume and shape for pre-fall, as seen in Dior's sculptural cape, Mugler's sharp-shouldered suits, and more.