>> Wallpaper patterns — inspired by architect Charlotte Perriand's graphic interiors — and high-contrast colorblock in a robust palette made up Jonathan Saunders's first foray into Pre-Fall. Silhouettes were easy, youthful, and 60s-tinged — just perfect for showing off all those interesting textures and prints.
>> For Pre-Fall 2012, Nicolas Ghesquière riffed on early '80s Postmodernism — and all the bold colors, big silhouettes, and loud prints associated with the genre. There were jumbo zebra patterns, oversized pullovers, shoulder-padded coats, and pleated peplums — all in eye-popping hues and styled to the hilt with humongo earrings, super-dark shades, and New Wave hair. If all of this sounds over-the-top retro, never fear. Ghesquière has a knack for making even the scariest reprise seem fresh. To that end, he worked high-tech fabrics, sharp tailoring, and muted colors into all the far-out fun.
>> The Japanese editors who turn up to Pitti Uomo in Florence every year — especially as snapped by Scott Schuman — were the starting point for Derek Lam's Pre-Fall 2012 collection. "In Japan, they call them fashion nerds, but to me they’re not nerdy. They’re fabulous," Lam explained. And so, coats, trousers, tops, and sheaths were sharply-tailored and done up in gorgeous Glen plaid, herringbone, and jacquard denim. But it wasn't all borrowed-from-the-boys: Lam also worked lingerie-inspired gowns, bandana-print frocks, and fluted skirts into the mix.
>> Classic '60s couture silhouettes, military details, and a rich compilation of fabrics defined Julie de Libran's Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall offering. "It's good to have all the beauty," de Libran — who helms the house's Pre-Fall and Resort collections— said of the collection's more extravagant details, "but you have to be able to wear the clothes. After all, that's what we're all here for, no?" And so, among all the fur and sequins, de Libran offered plenty that was wearable: a streamlined shorts suit, motorcycle jackets in wool and leather, round-shouldered coats, and several sweet little frocks.
>> Peter Som culled influence from '70s film The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and Wallis Simpson for Pre-Fall 2012, resulting in an assortment of prim separates steeped in cheeky Surrealist edge. Lean trousers, mod jackets, crewneck sweaters, and pleated frocks — Som staples — were done up in leather, lipstick-brights, houndstooth, and two knockout prints: a large-scale floating jewel pattern and a sunset floral ocelot. "It's a ladylike approach to dressing, but a little undone," Som explained.
>> Pre-Fall 2012 has Prabal Gurung forgoing his signature glitz and instead opting for something else: everyday wearability. His reference point — the rough-and-tumble grittiness of life in India — is apparent not so much in the elegantly crafted separates on offer, but more in the spirit of powerful fluidity that surrounds them. "It can be harsh, really, but it's still beautiful," the designer explained.
In keeping with recent tradition, Gurung's also released a video to accompany the collection. This season's offering: a hypnotic, kaleidoscopic rendering, set to the tune of DJ Pictureplane's song "Body Mod" and featuring models Alana Zimmer, Hanne Gaby, Kate King, and Ming Xie.
>> Monogrammed suits, argyle sweater dresses, buffalo plaid ponchos — there was a bit of something for everyone at Stella McCartney's Pre-Fall 2012 presentation. Held at New York's West Village restaurant, One If By Land, Two If By Sea, the presentation offered up a nice helping of what McCartney does best: Elegantly-crafted separates and dresses that feel chic, but don't take themselves too seriously. "Pre-Fall has a wider starting point, so it’s about giving a voice to the different facets of a woman," McCartney said. "It’s less about referencing something specific and more . . . psychological." See the entire collection — including accessories — and scenes from the presentation here.
>> If a sleek downtown type became smitten with the English countryside, this is what she'd wear: trim button-downs tinged with jockey details, super-slim jodhpur leggings, turtlenecks made of leather, textured wool dresses, and lots and lots of fur. The Olsens are calling it "equestrian-meets-aristocrat" — we're calling it exactly what we want right now.
>> Phoebe Philo pumped up the volume for Pre-Fall 2012, working some serious mass into her signature strong-lined silhouettes. Pants were cut generously through the hip, and jackets looked ultra-roomy with the addition of large lapels and rounded shoulder seams. Peplums, bows, and a smattering of patchwork added just a hint of playfulness, while shiny leather and textural fur provided contrast to the otherwise stark palette of navy, gray, and black.
>> For Alber Elbaz, it's all about what's fresh — even as this year marks the designer's 10th at the helm of Lanvin. To celebrate, Elbaz has worked "new fabrics, new technologies, and new volumes" into Pre-Fall, combining statement-making shapes with some very innovative materials. Full-skirted frocks are done up in lace-bonded wool, oversized trenches come in patent leather gabardine, and flouncy cocktail dresses are constructed from airy tech fabrics. Large-scale cameo necklaces, square-buckle belts, and super-svelte leather gloves punctuate the looks.