With the Fall 2014 shows just a couple of weeks away, pre-fall presentations still in progress and the menswear shows only just behind us, it sometimes seems like every week is Fashion Week. Not that we’re complaining, of course, but all that runway action can add up to more new looks than we could possibly digest.
Resort and pre-fall, otherwise known as fashion’s "pre-seasons," are definitely the two divisions that have grown the most over the past few years. Magazine market editors cover them like crazy, they make it into multiple glossy spreads and major A-list stars wear these clothes on the red carpet constantly. But honestly, the insanely fast expansion of these two lesser-known seasons is for very good reason.
Resort collections (sometimes called "cruise" if you’re uber-fancy…or Karl Lagerfeld) are so named because they’re meant to cater to winter vacationers in need of lightweight pieces for their holiday getaways. But don’t let that beachy connotation fool you—these clothes are made to last, or at least weather the changing styles. They typically remain on the sales floor from November until the following May—the longest period of time any collection ever remains on display in stores. That explains why so many designers pack their resort collections with wearable, non-trendy classics that are essentially seasonless.
Pre-fall collections are similarly adaptable, hitting stores around May or June. Even though fall clothes go on sale only one month later, pre-fall pieces remain on the sales floor for longer thanks to their wearable appeal. And while designers generally save their real showstoppers for their spring and fall runways, hoping they’ll land in editorial spreads, pre-collections are much more accessible. Better yet, they’re almost always lower-priced than main-season clothes. After all, they usually lack the ornate embellishment and tricky workmanship of their spring and fall counterparts.
So while pre-collections certainly create more work for the designers themselves—brainstorming new clothes every month is no easy feat—they’re a win-win for shoppers and retailers. And a recent survey of my own closet revealed that the vast majority of my own designer pieces came from pre-fall or resort collections, so these "baby seasons" have certainly made me a happy customer.
Click through above to see a few of my favorite looks from the Pre-Fall 2014 collections!