Pre-Fall is not about taking big risks. After all, most fashion designers usually save up their best works for the bigger scale shows of the Autumn/Winter season. Not this year though.

While still practical, the 2018 Pre-Fall designs have a more whimsical quality to them. Swingy tent coats, handkerchief-hem dresses, edgy tapered trousers – it seems that the season is determined to have fun.

Here’s a roundup of five designer labels to look out for when you are doing your season’s shopping.

Aye, Aye Captain

Karl Lagerfeld draws inspiration from the high seas for Chanel’s Pre-Fall collection. But his vision does not include your average uniformed sailor. Rather, it is more of a beatnik rebel meets Upper East Side housewife that comes to mind.

Cool sophistication is the theme. Peaked caps, thigh-high boots, ribbed leg warmers, bootie bows, hourglass jackets and patchwork pants all come together for a natucial adventure of sorts.

The designs also celebrate Lagerfeld’s hometown of Hamburg. The northern German city, which is a major European shipping port, served as the perfect location for the runway show.

Where The Heart Is

Versace’s collection harks back to a place the fashion house calls home. The stately Milanese palazzo in Via Gesu – bought by the Versace sibling back when they were young – is now the inspiration for sharp and bold tailoring.

While neo-classical borders are used on ribbons in graphic lines, medusa medallions on top stitching create new necklines on day dresses and add a touch of the iconic on accessories.

A vintage logo comeback is seen revamping the signature “more-is-more” mantra as well, creating a chic yet sporty all-over print featured on knit, nylon outerwear and denim.

Contrasting Beauty

Giorgio Armani’s signature dualism is renewed and reasserted for Pre-Fall 2018. Floral motifs are enhanced by Kidassia and Mongolian fur details for example, whereby the nocturnal black palette is lit up with pale neutral sparks.

Sensuality is observed coming through in tactile textures: flocked velour, snakeskin, heavy satin and velvet. Small, precise jackets are paired with flowing trousers for a contrasted look.

For accessories, look to the small-heeled, pointed booties and velvet or leather bags. Conceived as essential design objects, these complete the looks in a restraint, subtle manner.

Love Me Do

Fendi celebrates love and luxury for the new season. Striking a balance between pure elegance and style extravaganza, the collection exudes a sense of empowered and polished modern femininity.

Hearts steal the spotlight. Infused with an artsy feel, the iconic symbol pops up on a wide range of signature garments, from the easy-chic sweatshirts and the cozy sweaters to the upscale fur coats.

It doesn’t stop there. A hyper feminine halter neck dress reveals a seductive heart-shaped bodice too, and heart padlocks are the colourful intarsia decors enriching a striped mink fur coat.

Unrestrained Eclecticism

Gucci taps into the dark side of Italian cinema for its current collection. The designs pay homage to horror films by Italian director Dario Argento, exploring the relationship between beauty and horror.

Fashion photographer Peter Schlesinger captured the lookbook at various locations in Rome, such as Casina Delle Civette, Quartiere Copped and Hotel Mediterraneo among others, all previously seen in Argento’s works.

Loud motifs, off-kilter silhouettes and a jumble of colours are featured in abundance. Mismatched aesthetics seem to be the key theme, offering everything from baseball caps to silk chiffon party dresses.