With Spring becoming a distant memory, and Autumn beckoning from beyond, we present to you the trends to transition with in style
With all the hype for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, it’s easy to forget that there are actually two further seasons in the fashion calendar: Resort and Pre-fall. Resort is the winter collection intended for those lucky enough to take a beach (or yacht) holiday in the coldest months; Pre-fall is where we are right now, in the hinterland where spring collections are no longer new, but we’re not yet ready for autumn. For shoppers it’s not always obvious which clothes are Pre-fall, but for brands, it’s one of the most lucrative times of year; it can also give you a hint as to what’s coming next.
So what are the womenswear trends to pay attention to this time around? For starters, get rid of your dustpan and brush, because your clothes will be sweeping the floor for you. Pre-fall’s statement trouser is loose or flared, and long, long, long. In Givenchy’s collection, slacks with split hems pool around the heel; at Antonio Berardi, there were very wide-legged pants alongside traditional bell-bottom silhouettes. Emilio Pucci has given the trend an athleisure twist, with bright tracksuits that are so long-legged, you’ll need heels to wear them (probably best to steer clear of treadmills – it’s activewear by name only). Whatever you go for, if you can still see your feet, your trousers aren’t long enough.
If that’s all too impractical, you might be interested in the utility luxe trend, in which apparently functional garments (multi-pocketed trousers and khaki pieces with important-looking buckles) have been brought upmarket. At Versace that means belted boiler suits and camo jackets – which sounds very tough, if it weren’t for the glamorous plum and teal palette.
Chloé has opted for a tactile collection featuring a safari-esque shirt dress with neat pockets, and a soft, full-skirted denim pinafore – and American brand Creatures of the Wind has given a nod to utilitywear with high-waisted, olive-green trousers
tied with a sash belt. If you’ve been enjoying the recent rise of flashy embellishment, championed by Alessandro Michele at Gucci, you’ll be pleased to hear that sequins are still hot for Pre-fall. At Nina Ricci, designer Guillaume Henry has included dresses in sparkling black, pink and silvery blue. Erdem’s heavily sequined cocktail dresses are dotted with birds and flowers, while Valentino is responsible for a show-stopping red gown that twinkles from head to toe. Just don’t catch it on anything.
Chanel, on the other hand, broke things down for Pre-fall with suits and coats with unfinished hems and seams that are somewhere between fringing and fraying. Karl Lagerfeld wasn’t the only one thinking along these lines: for Moschino, Jeremy Scott designed a camouflage-print jacket adorned with ribbons of shredded fabric, while Victoria Beckham pared the idea right back – her subtly frayed cream separates were the epitome of chic.
Pleats continue to be in vogue for Pre-fall: Christopher Kane has used them in flared sleeves and an offbeat skirt that slopes from the left thigh to the right shin (his collection was inspired by artwork created by psychiatric patients, so it’s anything but boring). Dior’s interpretation is much more conventional, but perhaps less daunting: a long, monochrome skirt in houndstooth. At Fendi, pleats come in many varieties, including a 1970s-print frock, a sunset-orange skirt, and a drop-waisted, rose-pink dress. Bottega Veneta, meanwhile, has tapped into the playful potential of pleats: a preppy knee-length skirt reveals an alternating pink and navy print as it moves.
Finally, it’s time to get business-like: slim trouser suits are cropping up all over the place (and yes, some of them are literally cropped). Stella McCartney likes them in postbox red or a brown check that looks like you’ve borrowed them from a very stylish grandpa. At Mugler, designer David Koma – who knows more than most about how to make a woman look and feel sexy – has given us dress-to-impress skinny suits with sharp shoulders. On a softer note, Altuzarra’s versions included ruffles, rounded jackets and floral prints. It may be that the trends are tempting you but you’re still understandably baffled by the mysterious concept of Pre-fall. If that’s the case, then we can let you in on a secret: the more familiar name for this season is – shhh – summer.