For once, designers got the memo.The one about the importance of seasonally appropriate fabrics that retailers from Denver to Dubai have been squawking about."It was the first time — maybe ever — that so many brands had gotten the message about transitional-weight fabrics," said Neiman Marcus senior vice president and creative director Ken Downing, who's been preaching about the virtues of lighter fabrics for years. "The customer isn’t responding to all of the heavy fall and winter clothes that are shipped to stores in August. Brands have seemingly come to the table understanding that weather patterns have changed. Customers are buying in-season, color stories and fabrics are much more transitional and see-now-buy-now."Pre-fall has become a big business; it's the main revenue driver for some retailers, accounting for up to 75 percent of the annual spend. While there's no doubt that pre-fall is important and lucrative, viewing and buying pre-fall isn't fast or easy for retailers. Depending on the designer, the pre-fall season can start in November or December and continue through February. Unlike the fall and spring runway seasons, which have official beginnings and ends, the pre-fall calendar is more diffuse. Pricing and production time tables are issues retailers have to reconcile.London retailer Browns, which was acquired by Farfetch and underwent a re-branding under its new chief executive officer, Holly Rogers, increased its budgets for its pre-fall 2017 to between 60 and 70 percent of its annual allocation."April and May deliveries are becoming serious business and more important than ever before," women's fashion director Laura Larbalestier. "We see pre-fall as a bridge between spring and fall."Jeffrey Kalinsky, executive vice president of designer merchandising at Nordstrom, said pre-fall may not be as sexy as fall and spring on the runway, but the solid meat-and-potatoes season represents 75 percent of the retailer's business and budget allocation. "The runway is the icing on the cake, because it ships later," he said. "We need goods early and we need a good flow throughout the season. The earlier things come, the better chance you have at full-price sell-through."For Coco Chan, head of women's rtw and accessories at Stylebop.com, the pre-collections sometimes feel like a distillation of the message of the previous season, re-affirming dominant trends. This was especially true of pre-fall 2017, which provided many carryovers, including slip dresses, pantsuits, lingerie detailing and pleated skirts. "There were great iterations [of these trends] from Valentino and 3.1 Phillip Lim," Chan said, adding that Gucci's, influence was evident in many presentations. "In terms of fresh ideas, I loved the subtle use of gingham that popped up in unexpected guises and the Forties-inflected glamour that defined Fendi and Max Mara. It was strong and powerful and bodes for interesting things to come.
"Designers seemed keen on perfecting the greatest hits of the past few seasons by adding subtle tweaks that go a long way," Chan said, referring to wardrobing pieces. "The attention to detail and refinement was quite evident."
Most retailers said pre-collections aren't just watered-down-but-necessary versions of fall and spring runways. “Pre-collections are also about how to reflect the DNA of a house while staying a bit more commercial," said Le Bon Marché women's fashion director Elodie Abrial. "The pieces have to have staying power as they arrive earlier on the floor. They need to be creative, but take fewer risks than the main collections. We’re targeting a local clientele. It’s important that they can find wearable pieces for every day."Abrial said pre-collections represent about 70 percent of the buy for the season. For the remaining 30 percent, she looks for stronger creative statements. "It's about having the right balance," she said, noting that Chloé channeled the Seventies with shades of terra cotta, rust and green. "There was a focus on flared pants and dresses. A play on necklines will also continue to be big next season."As the seemingly never-ending season wound down, retailers gave their assessments of the pre-fall collections.Jennifer Sunwoo, executive vice president and general merchandise manager, women’s at Barneys New York, said purchasing behaviors are increasingly shifting toward see-now-buy-now. "The opportunity for pre-collection deliveries, from May through July and August, is in the flexibility of transitional wardrobing and offering pieces that are seasonally appropriate, such as summer tops and dresses, lightweight knitwear and open-toed shoes and sandals."We loved Sies Marjan, The Row, Balenciaga and Fendi, which all showed beautiful, novel pre-collections."Elevated streetwear, including a bevy of embellished bomber jackets, has been adapted for pre-fall, Sunwoo said."Pre-fall fashion and trends are almost like a main market," said Roopal Patel, senior vice president and fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue, noting that the sartorial lines between pre-fall, fall and resort have blurred. "As we move into this season, it's about season-less clothing," she said. "We saw two different schools of thought: a true [pre-fall] meant to wear in-season and we saw this shift to more traditional fall dressing."Fabrics once associated mainly with fall and winter are being manipulated for season-round use. "Velvet is the new suede," said Patel. "It’s being treated as a lightweight fabric that you can wear in the springtime and all season. We’re seeing Victorian trends continue that started in spring, including long, tiered dresses, skirts and pearls. The idea of more is more and decadent dressing is in the air." To that end, she name-checked Gucci, Erdem, Altuzarra and Chanel.Anita Barr, fashion buying director at London's Harvey Nichols, said it's more about true summer. "Our pre-fall collections start arriving in May, so many collections are driven by summer-ready styles rather than autumnal pieces," she said. "We saw a lot of tropical, jungle and animal prints that were translated into easy-to-wear silks and plissé skirts, from Valentino, Adam Lippes, Rag & Bone and Equipment. Breathable and lightweight cottons were seen in soft shirting at Proenza Schouler and Alice & Olivia."If a lot of designers have gotten on the bandwagon for pre-fall as a season for warm weather clothes, not everyone is there yet. "After all, [regarding] the conversation about see-now-buy-now and improved seasonal appropriateness, at the very least, as part of the solution to stimulate continually flagging demand, we were disappointed to see many true fall offerings for what should essentially be a transitional time," said Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman. "The collections we're buying for now are slated to be delivered in May and June, just when actual summer hits in most parts of the world. There just weren't enough offerings to address that fact."Fargo and her team "responded where we could by picking up on lighter weights; pops of color; florals; denim; khaki; stripes, summer velvets and satins as a way to address the issue and still provide newness."Kalinksy was looking for uniqueness and creativity — and he took it wherever he could find it."You see trends during pre-fall, but what’s really import to us is to buy into the individuality of each collection," he said. "When you go to Chanel, Balenciaga and Gucci, you’re looking to address an individual trend across the collection. You’re looking for newness in each of collections and things that will resonate with customers."Antonia Giacinti, owner of Antonia in Milan, also said pre-fall collections can be tricky to merchandise.
"Since the period of presentation lasts for so long, sometimes we run the risk of buying the collections without a fil rouge, which is what provides an identity to our stores, marking them with a very precise image," she said.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)