Pre-Autumn/Winter 2013-14 Trends


THE pre-collections serve as a deliberately lighter version of designers’ influences and intentions, an appetiser to what can be expected from the international catwalks and an adhesive between seasons. Subsequently, they are packed full of clothes we really can – and want – to wear every day.

While some trends that established themselves in the spring/summer 2013 collections were evident – printed pyjamas, cobalt, the bomber jacket, sheer, collars – a number of fresh ideas broke new ground.

Board shorts are set to become a wardrobe staple we never knew we could live without in the city, while our faithful friend, the T-shirt, was given a grown up makeover. Eveningwear was elegantly overhauled, as the new floor-length silhouette – impactful and streamlined – made a dramatic entrance. The two most prevalent shades of spring/summer 2013 – white and black – combined to deliver the big colour news of the season; grey. And in fifty different shades it came.

Here, we round up the most important trends from the pre-autumn/winter 2013-14 collections…

Shades of Grey
Alexander Wang – Pre Proving that sometimes things are not simply black and white, many designers sidelined the chiaroscuro palette of their spring/summer 2013 collections and indulged in every shade of grey. Alexander Wang (marl), Chanel (charcoal), Narciso Rodriguez (slate), Bottega Veneta (wood pigeon) and Calvin Klein (concrete) all chalked the slate, while models at Pringle were dressed in that school girl staple – grey woollen tights.
Get Leathered
Narciso Rodriguez – Pre Leather will be everywhere come summer. Black leather, to be precise. An extension of spring/summer 2013’s unseasonal fascination with black, pitch leather dominated many collections: Burberry, Derek Lam, Belstaff and Alexander Wang focused on strict tailored separates, while Zac Posen and Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier worked the skin into surprising feminine silhouettes, replete with cinched waists, peplums and pussy bows. Tory Burch even embroidered a folksy Navaho jacket.
In The Swag
Helmut Lang – Pre Traditionally the handwriting of Parisian couture houses, expert drapery is a hard-to-master technique. But executed in jersey and silk, the swagged dresses of the coming season have an easy-going insouciant feel. Shorter styles at DKNY and Jason Wu were teamed with leather biker jackets – new ‘model off duty’ uniform alert – while at ICB, Prabal Gurung tucked and ruched vest dresses to add volume. Helmut Lang’s asymmetric degradé gown offered a modern solution for effortless eveningwear.
Ankle-Anchored Trousers
Prabal Gurung – Pre The big news in trouser shapes is the tapered peg. Not entirely enticing on paper, in reality the shape flatters all figures; revealing the ankle – the leg’s most elegant part – and slimming the leg with a centre crease (although practice caution with volume-adding pleats). Erdem, Etro, Michael Kors and Temperley London all showed neat examples, although Vera Wang’s floral brocade version was one of the prettiest.
Great Lengths
Christopher Kane – Pre There is nothing whimsical or wafty about the new floor-sweeping hemline; dispelled are visions of tripping over your broderie anglaise in cornfields – these gowns are impactful, serious and streamlined. Donna Karan – for whom dressing serious, impactful women is second nature – slashed modal dresses up to there and necklines to the navel. Christopher Kane showed a floral version with a sweet T-shirt top but the result was less demure, more a modern and uncomplicated way of going long. The arbiter of drama, Zac Posen, made his backless for magnified wow-factor, and added sleeves that billowed like sails. Erdem, J.Mendel, Tucker and Rachel Zoe – who is rarely seen in anything shorter than pavement-grazing, proving long can work on diminutive statures – also adopted sleek longer lengths.
The Grown-Up T-Shirt
Proenza Schouler – Pre Everyone knows by now that pre-collections are centred on trans-seasonal dressing, crammed with pieces that will bridge all weather and situations, and effortlessly fill those wardrobes gaps between directional investments. What could claim to have more pull-on appeal than your favourite T-shirt? Well, it just got a fabulous grown-up make-over and now it’s office and evening ready. In embossed leather, high-tech neoprene, printed silk and lace panels or oil-slick sheen, the best came by way of Christopher Kane, Proenza Schouler, Reed Krakoff, Theyskens’ Theory and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Serious wear now, wear anywhere appeal.
Tailor Boy
Reed Krakoff – Pre The joy of masculine tailoring is that it instantly gives an effect of being pulled together, yet is deceivingly simple to wear. Throw on an expertly tailored black blazer over a white T-shirt and your look is transformed from off-duty to Very On. With the correct fit, miracles can also be worked with leg lengthening, waist slimming and arm trimming. Invest in quality fabrics and cut. Look to Helmut Lang, Reed Krakoff, Narciso Rodriguez, and Olivier Theyskens’ iridescent offering at Theory and you can’t go wrong.
Pencil Case
Calvin Klein Collection – Pre They come either in demi-stretch fabrics that skim the body in a tulip shape, with an artfully positioned fold or pleat to accentuate the waist – see Donna Karan, Gucci and Alexander Wang – or straight up and down, falling just below the knee (care of Burberry, Tory Burch and Pringle). Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa made the clever addition of a double vent to his pencil skirts to allow more movement while retaining the column shape. How modern.
City Safari
3.1 Phillip Lim – Pre Animal print has been snaking around for a few seasons now, but this time designers travelled via the city for their trip to Africa. Prints of every plains animal were intermixed with urban jungle staples of sportswear, tailoring and covetable accessories. Burberry showed giraffe, while python prints appeared at Ports 1961, Christopher Kane and Reed Krakoff. There was leopard at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Gucci and Just Cavalli as well as Timo Weiland and Tucker, cheetah at Jenni Kayne, tiger print at Juicy Couture, and even lemur stripes from Jason Wu.
Board Meeting
DKNY – Pre By the time these clothes reach the shop floor, our thoughts will be concerned with impending summer holidays whilst trying to navigate ever demanding work schedules. In an optimistic – and generous – endeavour to bring some holiday spirit to the office, designers re-appropriated board shorts, streamlining cuts and raising hip-slung waist bands. DKNY’s look as good with a blazer as they will with a black sweatshirt and vertiginous heels – as will Rachel Zoe and Wayne’s. For a looser, tailored cut, cast your eyes to Bottega Veneta, Band of Outsiders, Christopher Kane and Ports 1961.
English Cyber Garden
Erdem – Pre Florals show no sign of wilting, and for autumn/winter 2013-14 designers plucked the blooms of an English country garden – and plugged them into the mains. Erdem’s floral mirage oscillated between saturated paillettes and a colourful bouquet. Elsewhere, Carolina Herrera’s technicolour rosebushes, Christopher Kane’s bewitchingly shimmery pansies, Vera Wang’s electrifying metallic blossom brocades, Naeem Khan’s appliquéd Perspex daisies and Honor’s screen-printed meadow flowers made up a field of dreams.
Tartan Punk
Chanel – Pre Showing ahead of the other pre-collections, Chanel’s Metier d’Art show often signals a flavour of things to come. This December, Karl Lagerfeld enticed the fashion press to Linlithgow Palace in Scotland and reeled out a tartan legion. Tartan – the highland cloth adopted by Vivienne Westwood for her counterculture fashions, and subsequently, a legion of Punks – cropped up again at Preen, where Johnny Rotten plaid was teamed with crisp white shirts, and at Theyskens’ Theory and Gucci. It’s hardly surprising: there is electricity in the air this spring – New York’s Met Ball 2013 will be Punk-themed while London’s V&A hosts David Bowie’s retrospective in March and Debbie Harry Queen of Punk opens at Camden’s Proud Galleries later this month.
Belt It Out
Bottega Veneta – Pre Following fashion’s unwritten algorithm (x follows y, flats follow heels), and a period of courtship with oversized cocoon shapes, designers returned to the waist. Whether peplum tops or figure-skimming dresses, everything, it seemed, was belted to accentuate the feminine form. Oscar de la Renta cinched sundresses with wide leather bands, Alessandra Facchinetti employed huge buckles at Gucci, while Christopher Bailey coordinated them with handbags and riveted them at Burberry. More were to be found at Proenza Schouler, Calvin Klein, Jason Wu, Christopher Kane and Bottega Veneta.
Glove Story
Ports 1961 – Pre Just as we are adjusting to the idea of wearing leather in summer, another incongruous item gets thrown into the discombobulated seasonal mixing bowl. Gloves are synonymous with winter, but designers including Vera Wang and Ports 1961 made a call to arms and dispelled any practical associations for pre-autumn/winter 2013-14 by introducing utterly chic elbow-length versions. Made to be worn with blouses or dresses, consider yourself a modern day Jackie Kennedy – Michael Kors even made his in white.
Sock It To ‘Em
Diane von Furstenberg – Pre Every now and then a little styling legerdemain comes along that we can all try, for very little or no cost, that propels our wardrobes convincingly from flagging into current. How delightful then that so many designers opted simply to team their shoes with socks. Sitting reassuringly between fugly (sub text: serious credentials) and school girl (sub text: youth injection) the equation wins more often than not. The rules? No cartoons or patterns or you run the risk of Grayson Perry misidentification; simple black, and nonchalantly slouched to mid-shin, is the most sophisticated.



  1. emilyannfrances

    I LOVE the dress above the caption “Belt It Out”. I’m glad the natural waistline is returning as a fashion focus. I’m one of those people who do not look good in low waisted skirts or jeans.

  2. Good information, useful as well as superb layout, since reveal good stuff having plans
    and concepts, a whole lot info as well as inspiration, each
    of which I need, thanks to offer you this kind of helpful tips below.

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