What is pre-fall?Publié par Marie-Eve Rochon le 20 janvier 2014
At last week’s Golden Globes event, Taylor Swift wore a pre-fall Carolina Herrera gown, while Sandra Bullock was spotted in a pre-fall Prabal Gurung number. These were fresh off the runway as brands and designers have been showing their newest collections since early January. But before we take a look at the pictures, let us ponder what exactly is pre-fall?
For many decades, there were only two ready-to-wear collections per year: spring/summer and fall/winter. In the wild race towards profits however, brands started adding new seasons to the calendar: resort and pre-fall. This last one bridges the gap between summer and fall.
A very lucrative business plan
Clothes and accessories from pre-fall collections are generally in stores stores between June and January. They are, therefore, sold for much longer than regular collections and, more importantly, remain at full price whilst fall collections go on sale. Traditional collections (spring/summer and fall/winter) are the most important when it comes to branding, while mid-season collections are the most profitable. According to the Wall Street Journal, pre-fall collections now account for 60% to 70% of a brand’s sale during the fall period.
This discrepancy in sales also stems from the fact that spring and fall collections are usually full of high drama and extravagant pieces, while pre-fall collections are more pared down affairs, and thus easier to wear in daily life. A lot of the clothes we see going down the runway for fall and spring never go into production, they are simply showpieces meant to surprise and entertain. Even the introduction of the collections is different, as pre-fall garments are usually shown in static presentations, not catwalk shows.
Unique design constraints
Pre-fall collections are meant to be worn from August or September on, after the hottest weather of the summer, but before the temperature significantly drops for autumn. This in-between timeline often creates surprising inconsistencies within a collection or even a single look. Jackets are worn with shorts, sleeveless dresses are adorned with fur, and a wool cardigan is paired with a light-weight chiffon dress.
How mid-season collections came to be
Mid-season collections are the luxury industry’s response to fast fashion giants, such as H&M and Topshop. Spanish company Zara even has a supply chain that allows it to restock its styles every 14 days. High Street stores have long since copied what is shown by luxury labels, but trends now arrive at Zara even before they are available at Harrods. Resort and pre-fall collections thusly allow luxury brands to remain relevant all year long.
Mid-season collections’ popularity has risen sharply since the economical crisis of 2008. Noticing a drop in demand, luxury stores have requested new deliveries from the labels they work with, hoping that a highest turnover of merchandise would prompt clients to open their wallets once more.
The right timing
Pre-fall collections also have the indisputable advantage of being presented in January, right before awards season. Stars can therefore wear these exclusive creations on the red carpets of the Grammys, Oscars and BAFTAs. This visibility is a significant marketing tool for designers.
Take a look at some of our favourite looks from pre-fall 2014 and tell us what you think in the comments section! (Click on the images to make them bigger.)