For an industry that wants to "disrupt" the fashion calendar (arguably to find some happy medium, balance and dare I say, uniform simplicity, at least in terms of scheduling, in order to ease some of the stresses of the industry's heavily taxed creatives), fashion has a funny (read: down right chaotic) way of showing it. Pre-Fall 2016 is a perfect starting place. The Pre-Fall collections (for the uninitiated, Pre-Fall is a mini-season that occurs between the Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer shows) started rolling out in November by way of small scale press shows (with a few exceptions, of course) and the release of lookbooks on Vogue Runway and beyond.
But there have been seemingly more stragglers in terms of scheduling than any larger trend towards timed releases and this makes sense because there is not a set schedule aside from a 3-month or so timeline. Etro, for instance, released its Pre-Fall 2016 lookbook in November; Gucci showed its Pre-Fall 2016 collection in December. Valentino released its lookbook in early January; Miu Miu staged its Pre-Fall show in late January. Meanwhile, the Fall/Winter 2016 shows, which take place between mid-february are March, were underway. Then, in late February, just prior to its own F/W 2016 show, Louis Vuitton released its Pre-Fall lookbook.
Now enter: the release of Gucci's Pre-Fall 2016 campaign in March. Skipping forward to April, Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen's label, The Row released their Pre-Fall 2016 lookbook, in order to more closely coincide with the delivery of the collection to stores (slated for May 1st). Celine, whose lookbook is pictured below, waited until May 10th, a day after Proenza Schouler released its lookbook. A full seven months after Etro released its Pre-Fall 2016 lookbook, Demna Gvasalia released the lookbook for his Pre-Fall 2016 Balenciaga collection (at the end of May).
Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Chanel showed their Cruise (aka Resort) 2017 collections in May (this is another pre-season, which is typically takes place in a several month window before the S/S collections, which begin in September). New York-based brand Public School showed its "Collection 1" - which was apparently a combined show for its Men's Spring/Summer and Women's Resort 2017 collections (per WWD) - in early June. The men's Spring/Summer 2017 shows have since kicked off in London, and Valentino presented its Resort 2017 collection to buyers and press in New York. If you are asking: "What season is it, anyway?" right about now, you're not alone.
Maybe such a sporadic timeline is in tune with the "I will show my collection when it is finished/when I am ready" motto that has been so famously adopted by Azzedine Alaia, who showed his Fall/Winter 2016 collection a full month after the regularly-scheduled Fall shows were finished. Or maybe it is just a tangible manifestation of an industry that is a mess.
Chances are, it is likely a bit of both. Céline's creative chief, Phoebe Philo, along with the Olsens are notoriously not-by-the-book. They run things as they see fit, such as banning press photography at some pre-season shows (a la Céline) and decamping to the French countryside in the middle of Paris Fashion Week (a la The Row last year). But what about nearly everyone else, the ones that go with the flow of fashion's calendar? Their misalignment seems to speak, or at least whisper, of an industry in transition. As for what exactly that transition is exactly, well, that's rather muddy water.