Now You Know: Pre-Fall Collections Are More Than Just Piffle


Welcome to Now You Know, Eric Wilson’s column that will help you become a fashion know-it-all in one easy read. Each week, he’ll take a look at an endearing fashion influence and why it’s relevant right now. Enjoy!

It’s hard to believe it’s the end of January and we’re still talking about pre-fall.

It’s been nearly two months since Karl Lagerfeld kicked off the pre-fall season with his Chanel Métier d’Arts show in Salzburg, Austria (pictured, above), and only two weeks until designers begin showing their fall collections. Still, the pre-fall keeps coming, as a handful of clever labels, like Balenciaga, Balmain, and Miu Miu, released images of their collections this week in Paris, while the fashion world was concentrating on the couture shows. Not a bad crowd to be seen with.

Fashion has entered an era of nonstop production cycles that are partly driven by the digital age and partly by the needs of retailers, the press, and—let’s not forget—celebrities for more and more clothes. Kerry Washington wore Prabal Gurung’s pre-fall tulip-printed gown to the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday. Felicity Jones appeared in silver-embellished dress from Valentino’s pre-fall collection at the same event. Brit Marling borrowed a platinum multi-stripe pre-fall robe from Creatures of the Wind for the Sundance Film Festival. Lupita Nyong'o wore that wild and wacky pre-fall dress from Elie Saab at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, and then a shorter version to the after party (all pictured, from L-R). Never mind that these collections won’t be in stores before July.

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic (2),Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Sabra Dipping Co., C Flanigan/Getty Images,Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for TWC

The fast pace of fashion is a subject we’ve discussed here before, and also the confusion that arises from describing these collections using outdated industry jargon. “Pre-fall,” to the rest of the world, is known as “summer,” but since when has fashion ever been driven by logic? On Twitter and Instagram, seeing photos tagged with #prefall has led many editors to jokingly refer to the season as if it were a trifle, or piffle.

And yet these collections, often filled with more sensible clothes than what we see on the runways, are actually more important to designers from a commercial standpoint than spring or fall. Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu collection, shown in an installation at the Palais d’Iéna, was filled with smart clothes like printed walking shorts and cozy cardigans (pictured, below left). At Balenciaga, the looks by Alexander Wang are fabulous, like a camel coat that appears to be tagged with pink stripes (pictured, below right), and fuzzier versions of a classic outerwear styles, including a trench, a peacoat and an aviator jacket.

Courtesy of Miu Miu, Courtesy of Balenciaga

While the rise of pre-fall means there are a lot more clothes to sift through (and the good news is that we now appear to be at the end of the pre-fall 2015 presentations), they might just whet your appetite for the main event: the fall runways, starting Feb. 12.

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