The pre-seasons have become about two things: the clothes themselves and, in this age of Instagram, insta-access, insta-everything, how and when designers sanction their unveiling.
Along the way, the editorial embargo — once viewed by journalists as a last-resort deal with the devil to secure a major, sensitive story — is now applied regularly to the often fine, seldom scintillating array of tops, pants and dresses that comprise the resort and pre-fall collections. It’s — what’s the word? Ridiculous.
Thank the fashion gods that, even in these crazy times, some designers retain a sense of perspective, Michael Kors at the top of the list. Yes, he fears the fast-fashion knock-off machine. But as he sees it, the “big reveal” need not be an all-or-nothing affair. Thus Kors shows his full collection to both short- and long-lead press and designates a number of looks for photography, for pre-fall upping the count from six looks to 10. Nobody needs any more. (WWD does not see embargoed collections; we wait for the embargo to lift, so we can do our job, which is to report on what we see.)
While Kors’ pre-fall looked fresh, it picked up on a major current from his upbeat spring collection, inspired, he said then, by the great dames of yore who wore their femininity with strength and attitude. For pre-fall, he phrased it differently, citing a range of women “who follow their instincts, who give the middle finger and wear what they want.” Yet one should not infer from that crazy-lady pilings. Kors is all about practical chic — make that practical glamor chic — and delivered it here in a subtle homage to a litany of favorite gals: early Madonna, Kate-Hepburn-meets-Gwen-Stefani, “a little Rihanna; a little Katy Perry,” and Diane Brill among them. He unified the range by a palette of black, white and red, and with a pair of specific sartorial tropes: the strong shoulder and trumpet silhouette.
In combination, these invoked the bravado of the Forties and Eighties, and if some of the shoulders looked forced, overall they skirted sappy retro. The strong-but-feminine attitude revealed itself variously in tailored looks, as in a seriously bold belted officer’s jacket and “carrot pants” (read: pleated for fullness that tapered toward the ankle) and literal golden-girl fare in a floral silk jacquard dress with chain embroidery. On a sportier note, a silver chain fringe skirt and black cashmere sweater with asymmetric zippers looked just a little tough, in the prettiest way.