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LIVEBOLDSTYLE TOP PRE-FALL LOOKS

CarvenPre-Fall 2015

With its retro electronics, striped chaise longues, sepia-tinged fashion photos, and a snail’s coiled shell, Carven’s Pre-Fall mood board suggested a desire to dial things back. Nostalgia aside, who, in the age of the Apple Watch and wearable tech, wouldn’t chuckle upon seeing lo-fi symbols as street-style bait? In the absence of Guillaume Henry, who has moved on to Nina Ricci, the Carven studio proved clever in the realm of construction as well, offsetting hemlines, shirt collars, and jacquard patterning so details that could easily have looked askew somehow ended up on point. Like the op art examples also tacked onto the mood board, panels of striped poplin shirting and wool suiting veered diagonally at times. Purists might find this dizzying, but if you’re searching for an excuse to add another men’s shirt to your wardrobe, you’ve got one.

Thom Browne Pre-Fall 2015

As a woman, it’s hard not to look at men’s wardrobes with a sense of envy now and then. How nice it must be, you think, to have a uniform. Not to face down each day with that open-ended question: What should I wear? And yet, more often, women envy one another for the playful variety of their clothing options. This uniform-versus-variety circle was the one Thom Browne was trying to square last season, as he proposed his own Monday-to-Friday looks for gals. Here, he elaborated on the idea, which seems less like a seasonal concept than a solid modus operandi for his brand. Pre-Fall found the designer extrapolating menswear tailoring, as is his wont, into feminine shapes, with the focus on two silhouettes: a loose one based on the classic sack suit, and one sharp-shouldered with a nipped waist. Both achieved their finest form in Browne’s luxe outerwear—a mink-tipped tweed Chesterfield coat, on the one hand, and belted cashmere or jacquard coats on the other, their trim waists flattered by natty belts and a skirt-like flare

Thakoon Pre-Fall 2015

Thakoon Panichgul’s brand turned 10 this year; he celebrated with a capsule collection for Barney’s back in October. With that experience not far in his rearview mirror, he approached Pre-Fall not so much thematically, but rather, he said, by working on his label’s “codes.” A decade in, the Thakoon brand stands for hybrids and classic American sportswear rendered unexpected with subtle and not-so-subtle tweaks. Cotton shirts that might be missing one sleeve or finished with a flourish of extra fabric to tie around the neck. Sweaters needle-punched with graphic panels of lace. A dress that does day/night double duty. This season, the collection had a rich, textural flair: Jacquards were inspired by mosaic tiles, oversize tweeds came with rows of yarn fringe, and a paisley was over-dyed with a black floral. The mood was more bohemian than romantic, a sensibility accentuated by the boxy, boyish ribbed knit pants—as close to pj’s as you can get and still leave your house—and men’s leather slippers lined in shearling. There’s a risk in removing the “everydayness” from what were once basics. But if the asymmetrical hem and contrast lining on a silk dress were a tweak or two too far, more often than not Panichgul’s hybrids were winning.

Elie Saab Pre-Fall 2015

Elie Saab wanted to bring something unexpected to Pre-Fall, introducing a slew of new techniques and fabrics. “Pre-collections are becoming increasingly important for the brand,” said Saab. “Our customers are constantly looking for standout and unique pieces.”

Saab’s theme was “folk reverie,” which meant full skirts, harvest-inspired motifs, and fur—lots of it. He embroidered red and purple flowers and black lace, creating texture without the typical beading. An abstract floral brocade—another first—mimicked lace on party dresses and ball skirts, and a striped brocade was patchworked into a floral on a striking champagne gown. Fox fur accented a dramatic floor-length black coat—the dream party topper. A cutout floral jacket in red-dyed lamb’s fur couldn’t be ignored either. The folksy feeling has been in the evening wear air for some time now, but Saab’s interpretation was pretty, tasteful, and very much what his customer is after.

Monique Lhuillier Pre-Fall 2015

Monique Lhuillier has been thinking about daywear for a few seasons now, but Pre-Fall was her first collection that you could really wear from sunup to sundown. “For me, Pre-Fall and Resort are about building staples in your wardrobe,” she said. In the past, that meant lacy LBDs and full midi skirts best suited for an upscale luncheon. This time, Lhuillier introduced wear-everywhere denim trenchcoats and forgiving jogger pants. “Everything is a little sleeker and more relaxed,” she said. “It’s restrained.” After whipping up hand-beaded, sequined tulle gowns for nearly a decade, the need to scale things back is understandable. Plus, Lhuillier can cut more than a gorgeous dress; those joggers were very wearable and in allover bordeaux lace they still fit with her established oeuvre. Similarly, the designer’s cropped jackets—in sporty double-face knit, pony hair, and leopard-print fur—could be layered over jeans on the weekend or a cocktail dress at the opera. Even the black-tie-ready gowns felt considerably laid-back; simple silhouettes with blown-up, abstract orchid prints had up-to-the-minute ease.

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