Pre-Fall Roll Call

We might be in the middle of Milan-Paris men’s week, but there’s another season generating plenty of buzz: the pre-fall collections. After all, they sit on the sales floor longer than any other. Our picks…

Alexander McQueen
Sarah Burton didn’t pull any punches. Her couture sensibility and flair for the dramatic lead her to nipped waists and highly textured embroidery. Other lines would be called overdone, but at the house of McQueen, a sheer off-the-shoulder gown with encrusted floral embroidery is all but a basic.

Jil Sander
Raf Simons has something of a fixation with the 1950s, and this season he provided another take on the era. Inspired by the film Mona Lisa Smile, Simons created varsity sweaters with “J” and “JS” crests paired with full tulip skirts. Accessories and clothes were emblazoned with words like “Faith” and “Notorious.” What they mean, tacked onto sporty jackets and sleeveless cocktail dresses, is anybody’s guess.

There’s a lot to love in Riccardo Tisci’s vaguely Parisian pre-fall collection. Tie-front blouses, flared skirts, and olive separates are effortlessly chic, complete with a splash of the now requisite Givenchy print. But the real story here is that Tisci may have stumbled upon the shoe of the season: knee-high, concealed heel, pointy toe. Pitch perfect.

Alexander Wang
Wang is back to an old fave this season, serving up his take on schoolgirl chic. Wang brought together a wardrobe of sharp jackets and pleated skirts, along with a few head-turning Grecian dresses. It goes to show, you don’t always need a reference or mood board to make a good collection. Sometimes it’s just about showing great pieces.

Giles Deacon served up old-school couture in his posh pre-fall collection. Silk peplums and lilac duchesse satin were some of most polished the designer has sent out, but don’t think that the London wunderkind is all grown up. Dolly bird prints on pajama shapes have just the right amount of whimsy; Giles always knows his way around a clever doodle.

Phoebe Philo is really embracing the oversize silhouette this season. While many women might be alienated by some of the oversize coats and MC Hammer-esque leather trousers (does anyone want to look that big?), there are still a few knockouts to be found, like color-block knits and navy pinstripes. Also, a print fur coat with matching print trousers? Yes, please.

Giambattista Valli
Socialites rejoice! Giambattista Valli has come out with yet another series of stunning pieces to pair with those croc Birkins. The fur flew in opulent coats, mink peplums, and even a fur dress. But the Upper East Side set might find more covetable options in A-line dresses in diamond jacquard. Perfect for Sunday afternoon brunch at Nello.

Stella McCartney
Stella brought out the perfect collection for the woman with multiple personality disorder. She’s a hunter, she teaches pre-K, she’s a Buddhist, and it’s quite possible that she’s moonlighting as a lounge singer. While it’s not her most cohesive collection ever, it’s hard not to love clever prints and saturated colors.

Nicolas Ghesquière wanted to update the late 70s and early 80s. Admirable, even if a few of his techno fabrics bordered on couture haz-mat suits. Still, oversize trenches are sure to find a home in many closets. Perfect for that Bonfire of the Vanities party you’ve been meaning to throw.

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