For many fashion industry insiders, the pre-fall collections are the best time of year as famous designers are more willing to experiment with ideas than during normal Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer shows. 2012 has seen its fair share of designers that were able to add imaginative features into their pre-fall offerings.
While Chanel's mix of Paris and India may have gotten the most attention, there were other designers that came through with successful collections. Among these designers that raised eyebrows at the runway shows, Alexander McQueen, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Antonio Berardi were identified as early successes.
While many of the Alexander McQueen pieces on display were more adventurous, this dress earned high accolades from those present at the show. The deep purple colors give a warm feeling to the dress and the contrast of the belts helps to give it a true balance. The soft and warm feeling is further amplified by the shawl, which appears to be a dyed fur. The overall appearance of this dress is regal and modern, bringing the usually stuffy high fashion of the court into the modern ages by changing the dominant lines of the dress. The look was completed with shiny black heels and bag that complimented the dress well.
The 2012 pre-fall collection from Salvatore Ferragamo had a similar theme that addressed the fashion of high society. Instead of the regal court, Salvatore Ferragamo took aim at English nobility and came away with a stunning set of garments. Mixed shades of red were the clear color choice and the flagship outfit featured several different tones without clashing. Texture was also at play in the collection, featuring a range of materials that included leather skirts and felt coats. Critics admired the balance of these textures and the ability of the designer to bring them all into a complete look without appearing cluttered or overdone.
One designer that certainly took chances with his 2012 pre-fall collection was Antonio Berardi. Derided for previous collections that took safe evening wear lines, Berardi pushed the envelope by making an about face and returning to the short list of elite designers. The collection focused on the idea of taking traditional menswear materials and using them in a feminine setting. The result of this lateral movement was a collection that evoked an athletic feeling and female strength. One of the more interesting pieces used heavy gray wool to create a contoured look and bright orange stripes that gave a futuristic nod to the design.
The entries for this year's pre-fall collection may have been somewhat tame compared to previous years, but the quality continues to get better and better. Stalwart fashion houses like Chanel and Alexander McQueen managed to come through with shining colors while lesser known names, such as Salvatore Ferragamo and Antonio Berardi, were able to surprise audiences and deliver truly fantastic collections that resonated with both critics and industry experts. With the 2012 fall/winter shows only being a stone's throw away, it will be interesting to see if the designers follow their current lines or move to a completely new direction.
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