There is a fair amount of unnecessary jargon flying around the fashion industry, so much so that even those of us who are in it often struggle to keep up. While Fashion Week may last a little more than a week, if you throw in menswear, the couture collections, along with the pre-fall collections, it seems there is rarely a week when something is going on.
But what exactly are the pre-fall collections, and do they really even matter? Also known in the industry as the "season between the seasons", the collections generally arrive in stores in May, bridging the gap between summer and winter collections. Even though its name would suggest it is a taster for the winter collections - many designers like to tell us they are - if we are really getting down to the nitty gritty, it's more of a nice little moneymaker for designers impatient for a new season to launch, many of whom are licking their wounds from an unsuccessful spring/summer. In fact, for those that find the trends a little overwhelming in terms of wearability, pre-fall is a much more commercial, easy-going offering. That's not to say it's a free-for-all - fashion isn't ever going to be that forgiving. There is, as always, still a direction.
We are lucky, living in country without any real seasons (just varying degrees of hot) for we have more options to wear something from these collections than those in Europe and New York who are, at the moment, under 15 centimetres of snow, despite being the beginning of April.
The peacoat, which is a super transition coat light enough to take us through spring, worn open with a smart shirt and trousers, has made a firm reappearance. This time around, forget demure black or navy and go for anything in a bright rainbow colour, as seen at Derek Lam and Jonathan Saunders.
Head-to-toe animal prints, although utterly frightening to many, are still hanging on with a fairly tight grip. Givenchy and Lanvin brought us some rather beautiful takes on the trend; just make sure to keep everything else in the look simple with a masculine edge; avoid the somewhat cheap connotations of the print when ruined by overzealous accessorising and too high a heel. An unusual punter came in the form of tartan from the likes of Preen, Gucci and Valentino - one of my favourites if worn correctly. Again, with anything as bold a print as this, keep shoes flat and lines clean. While we are on the shoe situation, Oxfords are the perfect option in a deep brown or cherry red, worn with bare legs and offering a nice equivalent to the ballet flat or brogue.
The polo neck is also a firm favourite, although save it for your travels as it is simply too restrictive in the heat. Often overlooked as a somewhat dowdy cover-up job, if worn with a high-waisted, knee-length printed skirt in an interesting colour it can look sharp. Stick to a very fine, good-quality cotton, but avoid completely if you have a larger bust, as it will only accentuate things.
The supersize proportions seen at CÚline proved there has been a shift in shape from the miniskirt and the 1960s vibe from last season. Think exaggerated full skirts and jackets perfect for the modest dress code we adhere to.
To round things up, pre-fall is not something any of us need to throw ourselves into with too much gusto; it simply acts as a bit of a buffer in a transition time in both the weather and the collections.
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