Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Two Paths

Whenever I arrive at Pre-Fall, writing becomes a struggle. I pull and push and gnash my teeth with little result. Last Pre-Fall I simply chose my five favorite collections and used them to illustrate the trends I thought were important. This year, however, my thoughts refuse to settle down and organize themselves.

There are two directions, if I let myself see them. If I don't over think. If I close my eyes and let the images drift through my mind. There are the fall and winter staples. Those items that reappear every year and prepare us for the cold weather's approach. It's why I've been able to wear my equestrian boots for the past three winters without looking out of place. And why the camel peacoat that I bought soon after college ended still occasionally finds itself being worn even though newer options have taken its place of honor. Those types of signposts were on display throughout the Pre-Fall collections.

As I was doing my usual foundation work, I talked briefly about the coats that first caught my eye. But as I made my way deeper into the season, there were many more that pulled my attention away from the work as hand. Having lived most of my life in a place where heavier coats are a necessity for at least half the year, I know how important they are. And how important it is to find one that doesn't transform you into another pod simply trudging through the snow and slush.

At Elie Tahari

At Burberry Prorsum

At Moschino Cheap and Chic

Pants, for what should be rather apparent reasons, emerge during Pre-Fall to replace the skirts and dresses that dominate spring and summer. This year I felt as if there were a wider range of cuts available. The variety emulated the Spring/Summer 2011 Paul Smith show that I loved so much. There was something for everyone, which is not a statement that can often be truthfully used to describe the industry.

At Jason Wu

At Ports 1961

At Burberry Prorsum

At Balenciaga

At Lanvin

My own inclination, as the leaves being to turn, to begin dressing as if I'm returning to an east coast boarding school is well known here. Many designers seem to share that desire. But as with most styles, there are a range of interpretations. Some shy away from changing the underlying concept while others take pleasure in tearing it down and building it back up.

At Tory Burch

At Pringle of Scotland

At Akris

Then there are the more ephemeral trends. Ones that will remind you of the Spring/Summer 2011 shows. Some that you might see when the Fall/Winter 2011 shows begin in less than a week. Others that will fade away before the new season even begins.

The vibrant colors of the warm months were replaced by cooler, muddier tones. Yet even with that shift, they still gave everything a bit of life to stave off the approaching darkness and chill.

At Nina Ricci

At Jason Wu

At Rachel Roy

At Giambattista Valli

At Doo.Ri

Those colors were also used, in both single garments as well as through styling, to form graphic patterns. None of the patterns vaguely recalled or starkly represented specific objects. They were simply composed of strong blocks of colors that referenced mid-20th century artists.

At BCBG Max Azria

At Celine

At Balenciaga

At Albino

Skirts in floor skimming lengths played the part of fraternal twin to the pants seen throughout the season. They came in all types of cuts made to be worn in all sorts of situations. Sexy slits in clingy jersey and gown-like options in heavier fabrics.

At Lanvin

At Rag & Bone

The 1970s have been heralded as the go-to decade for the past three major seasons. But unlike the 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s before it, its renaissance hasn't been as lasting or far-reaching. This might be the season that the higher waistlines and the looser silhouettes of that era finally make the widespread impact that others have before it.

At Diane von Furstenberg

At Thakoon

At Burberry Prorsum

Photos via

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