image: Celine image: Celine

For an industry that has talked for years about wanting 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 is a perfect starting place.

The Pre-Fall collections – those that result from the mini-season that occurs between the Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer shows – started rolling out in November by way of mostly small-scale press presentations, and the release of lookbooks on Vogue Runway and beyond.

But there have been more stragglers in terms of scheduling than there being signs of any larger trend in terms of the timing of these presentations. In a way, this makes sense, as there is not a set schedule for pre-season shows aside from a 3-month or so timeline. For instance, Bottega Veneta released its Pre-Fall 2017 lookbook in November 2016; Gucci showed its Pre-Fall 2017 collection in December (the corresponding campaign came out in April 2017). Valentino released its Pre-Fall lookbook in early January; Miu Miu staged its Pre-Fall show in late January.

Meanwhile, the Fall/Winter 2017 shows, which take place between mid-February and March, were underway. Then, in late February, just prior to its own F/W 2017 show, Louis Vuitton released its Pre-Fall lookbook.

Skipping forward to April, Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen’s label, The Row released their Pre-Fall 2017 lookbook, in order to more closely coincide with the delivery of the collection to stores (slated for May 1st), as did Proenza Schouler. A full six months after Bottega Veneta released its Pre-Fall 2017 lookbook, Alexander Wang released the lookbook for his Pre-Fall 2017 collection (at the beginning of June).

Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Chanel showed their Cruise (aka Resort) 2018 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). All the while, the men’s Spring/Summer 2018 shows have since kicked off in London, just days after both Opening Ceremony and Moschino presented its their Resort 2018 collections to buyers and press in Los Angeles, and Stella McCartney, Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera showed their Resort lineups 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 in 2015).

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.