London-Based Stella McCartney Shows Pre-Fall Collection in New York’s West Village

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Designer Stella McCartney presented her Pre-Fall 2012 collection at iconic West Village eatery One If By Lane, Two If By Sea yesterday. Showcased in a series of vignettes, with models playing games of pool, backgammon and even sitting in chairs reading, the collection felt like a riff on McCartney’s British roots. 

McCartney told us she wanted the collection to feel both “modern and wearable.” She said, “Women want to stand out in what they are wearing, but they don’t want their clothes to be wearing them.” The collection explored equestrian and hunting themes: green suede platforms featured horse-bit detailing and the shearling pea coat and green plaid poncho were modern interpretations on fox hunting gear. McCartney also played with the idea of monogramming, a trademark of the tailoring shops that line London’s Jermyn Street, bedecking entire ensembles with different monogram styles. 
The collection also emphasized eveningwear including a trompe l’oeil lace cocktail frock, with an accentuated cinched waist and a strapless little black dress with an oversize bow accenting the bust. “I really want my cocktail and eveningwear to look luxurious, but not old,” she said. 
McCartney’s presentation capped off a full day of Pre-Fall presentations in New York City from labels including Céline, Givenchy, Nina Ricci, and Carven -- labels that typically show abroad, emphasizing the growing importance of the in-between season that has been a boon for retailers in recent years. (McCartney was also in town to open her new Soho store.) The Pre-Fall collections hit shelves in June, and stay on sales floors far longer at full-price than Fall collections, which hit stores in July. Pre-Fall (along with that other transitional season, Resort) are also considered more wearable, and therefore more easily sellable than the collections that hit the runways for Fall and Spring. Fashion labels value these transitional seasons for offering a way to boost revenue without diluting the brand with licensing deals or having to create an entirely separate diffusion line (possibly with a lower price tag).
Because of the importance of the season, up-and-coming designers are feeling increased pressure to offer Pre-Fall. Both Prabal Gurung and Band of Outsiders showed Pre-Fall collections for the first time this year. And with only a month to go before New York fashion week, one can’t help but wonder how these smaller labels are handling the workload.
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