Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fashion weeks - 2011 Pre-Fall

when the fall fashion is already hitting the runway in London, I feel like I should take a good last look at the pre-fall collections before having a first look of the fall. I once read that pre-fall now has the longest shelf life in the market before the racks are filled with the fall items and that could be what is driving designers to create a much bigger collection than ever. and this year, the pre-fall presentations went on for a good few weeks (seven to be exact) and even continued simultaneously with the Couture shows in Paris. when we'd thought to ourselves, "is it over yet?", more photos of the pre-fall kept rolling in.

observation - collective trends for 2011 pre-fall

packed with all kinds of styles. pre-fall is a season where different designers show us their interpretations of the season. we saw polar use of materials. some thought it's the season right after summer and still suited for gauze-like, lightweight transparency; some were already moving into a full wintery collection with chunky knits and fur coats. 

the palette expanded into a wide range from the monochromatic focus of brown, blue, black, red and white to patterns of all sorts. stylish minimalism for some still prevails but the scene was awash by one single opulence trend of fur. fur was used on everything: trimmings on vest, fur tail charm, goat-hair, fox fur stoles, shearling coats. fur wrapped around our calves as seen in furry leg warmers or knee-high boots that got oh-so-popular last fall have moved up the body to become arm warmers or furry sleeves to give a different proportion of the silhouette. 

luxe, glamour, splendor are some of the keywords to describe the pre-fall collections. does that indicate we are finally stepping out of recession and ready for some doses of luxury? besides fur, leather, skins, sequins are vastly used. 

revival of the 60s & 70s, bohemian flare of bell-bottoms and long flowing skirts. the hemline has definitely gone lower, some designers prefer midi and some like maxi length. new micro trends for long skirts are the panel sheer and the pleats. 

I'd like to look for interesting layering and learn about how outfits are assembled  in pre-fall. looks can be practical, classic and polished but they can also afford to be a bit random for this particular season. it allows us to have some fun with the irrelevance. my top 15 collections in alphabetical order (I had a hard time deciding as it's a simply colorful season):

3.1 Phillip Lim - functional to workplace and weather. the form is structured for most pieces but the palette is soft. colors are muted except for the few orange tone pieces. I particular love a teal dress in floral pattern.

Akris - talk about power dressing. the brand is known to dress for power women but this season there is a new sense of causalness matched with luxurious materials - soft suede, cashmere knits, fine tweed wool. the leather bodice with wool midi dress could be a good pairing inspiration.

Alexander McQueen - Sarah Burton didn't fail to excite us again. a truly brilliant collection and one of my favorites. a full military inspired lineup echoing Burton's recent men's collection for fall and yet when put on the body of a female, the clothes felt very feminine. who'd think officer's uniform and boxy peacoats can be so sexy? 

Antonio Berardi - one singular item caught my eye. it's the long cashmere cape. first to experiment this new form of long on long. the long cape is worn over silk dress pants and maxi dress. never as weighty as the usual winter outerwear, the soft cashmere cape serves as a perfect cover to shield the chill. another nice touch is a thin green belt to highlight a monochromatic outfit. 

Balenciaga - what a fun collection! did Nicolas Ghesquière get the inspiration from the street? the vintage floral wallpaper sets the mood, then there are the interesting retro inspired pieces with quirky textural layering. the floral prints were said to be India-influenced. Ghesquière also plays up the signature layering of founder Cristobal's tunic dresses worn over cigarette pants paired with skinny heeled pumps. I like the collection for its trial of some tongue-in-cheek elements. we can always afford to be playful at pre-fall and seek for the more directional and indicative designs at the major seasons.

Burberry Prorsum - the same wardrobe stable of the trench coat with a very different reinterpretation compared with last season's motorcycle theme; it has become more luxe. the collection is basically made up of outstanding coats and flared pants, there are the occasional evening wear of floor-length frocks and tux. I like Bailey's use of yellowish olive color which is usually not the easiest color to master. the menswear that goes with this collection was not only complimenting the womens but the pieces alone were brilliantly done as well.

Celine - a variety pack of fabric play. we see dogstooth coats, denim of different shades, Harris tweeds patchwork, wool knits, iridescent PVC, shearling and leopard print calfskin. the silhouette is from tailored menswear and the inspiration is from Mod. many are looking forward to sartorial direction from Phoebe Philo every season and so for her accessory lineup. for pre-fall, a cute ornament is added to the signature Celine clutch - a fur tail charm. did Philo turn to Marc Jacobs's Louis Vuitton for inspiration this time?  

Chloé - Hannah MacGibbon has returned to the comfortable easy 70s chic she did so well in last fall collection. everything is set in the autumnal tone of brownish in wool, corduroy and leather. one particular canary yellow shirt and skirt is the pop of the collection. what's also worth noting is a pair of knee high chunky-heeled boots in beige. 

Emanuel Ungaro - Giles Deacon's first pre-fall collection for the house of Ungaro. replacing the lace and drape from the spring collection with clean and tailored lines, it is no less flamboyant. there are the shocking orange fox fur and lots of beautiful graphic prints, some pieces are simply tributes to the 60s mod. what is apparent is Deacon's effort to revive the glamourous Parisienne in Ungaro. Dree Hemingway adds edge and a dreamy quality to the cool Parisienne image. 

Giambattista Valli - referenced by Helmut Newton's photos of Paris by night, the pre-fall pieces are dominated by luxe tailleurs but also have a fair share of cocktail and party dresses and work shifts in color blocking black, red and off-white. the touch of tights are well used to spice up the looks. 

Givenchy - in the same strong silhouette of a urban warrior with heavy outerwear and over-the-knee lace-up boots, Riccardo Tisci displays his signature tailoring in a more approachable and feminine take. the color palette is warmer and mellow in olive, lilac and brown. Tisci announced that "brown is the new black." the theme of flowy sheer is carried forward from spring to pre-fall. we see lots of panel sheer maxi skirts.  not to miss is the new Givenchy emblem of Obsedia, a crosslike hardware used in all accessories and jewelry.

Hervé Léger - for the love of classic Alaïa body-con and the use of leather harness in last season's Lanvin, I simply cannot not love Hervé Léger's pre-fall. the bandage wear which should not be defined by season; rather by its function of party-going in the most prime body condition. not exactly the easiest dress to get into. this season we see be harness belt further accentuating the waist and the upper part of the body to "toughen" the sexiness in bondage dress. one should get considerably fit to wear it.

Maison Martin Margiela - if the S11 Margiela is a rather conceptual collection in recent seasons, then for pre-fall, it is the most commercially driven we've seen. the Margiela-isms is there (juxtaposing of 2 materials in horizontal cutting and the double-volume looks) but the aesthetic is as commonly appreciated as possible. every piece has high wearability. this may not be what MMM's hardcore fans are cheering for but it seems what the house's direction is heading towards adaptable clothing as demonstrated by recent collaboration with retailer Opening Ceremony for its sister label MM6. 

Marni - girlie feminism with part utilitarian, part Marni's original quirkiness we love so much. layering of pattern on pattern is always done well at Marni; polka dots & stripes, mix prints of floral, checked and geometric patterns, they can all look so right. 

Proenza Schouler - another of my favorite collection for the season. there are many knits and sweaters as the design duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez are making a statement in knitwear which they have never done before. tribal bohemian is a recurring motif since their last resort collection. Peruvian ropes, gaucho shorts, dresses in spiral wrap (a cutting often seen in tribal clothing), they are reinterpreted in modern forms. pre-fall is never so colorful. 

Thakoon - main line is monochromatic mostly with only a few graphic pieces in clean, sophisticated and polished silhouette in cool hues of black, grey, white and red. for the slightly less expensive line of Thakoon Addition, shapes are more casual, slouchy and soft; shades are in earthly tones of brown, yellow and military green. for pre-fall, Thakoon Panichgul has a bit of everything to offer. 

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