If the idea of pre-collections seem a little puzzling to you, it’s time to get acquainted, because while they may not provide the biggest sartorial hits of the season, what they do serve up are endless style staples that’ll transcend seasons.
Think of this as a pre-cursor to the new season - an appetiser that whets your sartorial appetite before the main course arrives, if you will. Pre-collections bridge the tricky gap between the end of one season and the beginning of another, when it’s not quite warm enough for your summer wardrobe, but not yet cool enough for your autumn wear, either; they provide the perfect transitional pieces that’ll carry you through the switch-over with ease.
This, of course, makes these pieces less season-specific, too, which is key to a savvy investment: unlike main collections, where it can be easy to pinpoint exactly what season a particular piece came from (and therefore easy to date), these have an anonymous, wear-forever quality that transcends time. Need another reason? Pre-collections are cheaper than their main ready-to-wear counterparts, too.
But for all their classic, timeless appeal, don’t mistake pre-collections as simply basic closet staples - you’ll find plenty of fresh versions of those, sure - they also give you an indication of the coming season’s trends; a taster of what’s to come.
So, what can we expect from pre-fall 2014? We’ve rounded up the key trends to look out for - and buy into - below:
After their breakthrough success for spring/summer 2014, culottes have taken the crown as pre-fall’s hero piece, thanks to their sophisticated yet easy sensibility that at once makes them feel smart and utterly effortless. Look to slightly longer styles - we’re talking mid-calf - in weightier fabrics and wide cuts: the key to getting culottes right this season is all in their structure. Alexander Wang’s tailored front-pleat styles are perfect for the office, while MSGM’s voluminous silk versions make the perfect party alternative to a full skirt. Meanwhile, leather styles as seen at Proenza Schouler elevate culottes’ classic cut into cool new heights.
Blankets may not immediately shoot to the top of your chic list, but this season’s wraps are surprisingly stylish - and worth paying attention to. Whether it’s a bohemian floor-sweeping piece draped across your shoulders, a modern cocoon wrap, or a fringed houndstooth cape, Chanel, Chloe, and Stella McCartney all made a convincing argument for why you need one this season.
3. Easy tailoring
Following on from spring’s bohemian mood, there’s an easiness in the air for pre-fall 2014, summed up perfectly in this season’s slouchy suiting. Forego sharp styles and look instead to loose, louche pants that have all the effortlessness of lounging styles, and relaxed, simply-cut blazers that feel smart but fuss-free.
4. Plaid pairings
Check mate is what you need to call this season, because plaid is back with a vengeance for pre-fall. While it’s true that plaid is nothing new, the way in which it’s being mixed and matched right now is particularly fresh - see Altuzarra, Kenzo, and Dior for inspiration.
5. Dressy Sweaters
Sweaters have been stealing the limelight for several seasons now. What’s new about them for pre-fall? The way they’re being used to dress down a particularly glamorous piece. Think sheer lace and embellished maxi skirts, pared with simple, slouchy knits a la Jason Wu.
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