This year’s Pre-Fall saw designers presenting a heady mix of aesthetics. Old and new, classic and modern, rough and soft – each inspiration denotes an idea of contrasting fluidity.
Aesthetically, they bridge the gap between narrations of the year’s main seasons. So expect a little of everything from Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, plus a little extra.
Here’s a look at the Pre-Fall womenswear collections from five designer labels.
Balenciaga’s Pre-Fall collection walks the line between avant-garde and everyday elegance. It highlights a progressive yet pragmatic stance that has long defined the fashion house.
Features from the Spring/Summer 2017 collection are redeployed – from the treatment of bright 1970s swimwear-derived florals and body-hugging fabric, through to the small details forming signature links.
Underlying all of this is the reality of a living Parisian design culture with a narrative of its own. The inspirations are sparked from in-house life, street observation and the legacy of Cristobal Balenciaga.
Inspired by “the evening dresses that women used to wear to dine at the Ritz” – according to creative director Karl Lagerfeld, the Chanel collection focuses on a silhouette with a well-defined waist and flared skirts.
More than ever the suit expresses a new sense of modernity: straight-cut skirts alternating with Capri pants, as well as jackets becoming a spencer worn with a tunic or a bolero over a long dress.
The season delivers new ultra-feminine versions of the iconic Chanel jacket too. They come adorned with braids made from pearls or tweed roses, floral embroidery and plexiglas buttons.
Givenchy unveiled its Pre-Fall collection in Copenhagen, where the Vega concert hall (conceived in 1956 by Danish architect Vilhem Lauritzen) served as backdrop for classic, elegant pieces.
Designs range from tailored, masculine styles with couture finishes to lace evening dresses. Camel hues and soft shades are also enhanced with gold and yellow notes, referencing the warmth of Scandinavian woods.
Long, fitted-waist jackets over flared pants further mark the collection’s fashion spirit, which are animated with contrasting colours or saturated prints (optical mandalas or florals).
Versace’s designs present a mix of urban essentials in refined fabrics. Tweed is revolutionised with techno threads, for example. There is a new print combining baroque, animal and camouflage, as well.
While vivid swirls of Swiss lace decorate shirts and skirts – with the edges hanging free, large swirls like graffiti are intricately embroidered in silk threads onto a sheer tulle dress.
“I want to push luxury forwards, experimenting with new techniques and rich fabrics that elevate and energise the urban Versace look,” states chief designer Donatella Versace.
Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of the Dior women’s collections, was inspired by themes of “freedom” when designing for Pre-Fall. The pieces thus make up a wardrobe that encouraged individuality.
She turned the iconic houndstooth into an unlined jacket and swingy knit skirt, for instance. She also revived the black tassels used in a 1947 collection to punctuate the overleaf of a black dress.
As the fashion house so aptly describes in the press release: “Place art at the centre of one’s life. Express who one is through a series of memorable gestures. Be unforgettable.”