11 Takeaways From the Pre-Fall 2021 Collections


Even in the Before, pre-fall was a disjointed, mostly digital season. Some brands used it to double down on essential items. Others considered it as a testing ground for ideas that may filter into fall shows. As such, synthesizing the pre-fall collections came down to finding noteworthy takeaways as opposed to overarching themes.

Despite the slowdown of the pandemic, pre-fall 2021 gave us a lot to digest, from the quirky layering at Louis Vuitton to the slinky bias dresses at Proenza Schouler. Here are the items, mini trends, and novel ideas that are occupying our minds from the pre-fall 2021 season.

Close Knits

Colorful, matching knit sets from Chanel, Dior, Gucci, and others are a stretchy and stylish alternative to WFH sweats.

Suits, Squared

There was no shortage of tailored toppers in the pre-fall collections, but the most interesting were the cropped, boxy jackets at Nina Ricci and Ganni. A nice, roomy shape for sitting all day.

In the Pink

Girlish pink blouses and frocks will provide a jolt of sweetness in a sour world.

The Biggest Pants of All

There’s no arguing against the instant impact of JW Anderson’s triangle trousers. Bigger than any other pants this season, and probably more comfortable too.

Smock Frocks

If big pants aren’t your vibe, voluminous dresses from the likes of Proenza Schouler and Co married ease and chic in neutral tones.

Layer Takes

Louis Vuitton’s pre-fall collection evokes Diana Vreeland’s famous “Why Don’t You…” column. Why don’t you pair shorts with knee-high boots and a frilled top? Collina Strada made the case for even stranger pairings.

Pleats Please

A kilt has long been a Thom Browne staple, but now brands from Erdem to Off-White are taking up the cause.

The Pouf and Ruche

Each pre-fall season seems to bring an ’80s revival in the form of party frocks with ballooning sleeves and bubble hems. Chalk it up to the season’s summer delivery dates. When July’s heat and outdoor parties come around, who isn’t feeling for an early Madonna look?

Zip It!

In the hands of Jil Sander’s Luke and Lucie Meier and Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci, transformative garments are equal parts function and fun.

The Next Big Cling

Maybe Ryan Murphy’s upcoming Halston series is inspiring a bias revival? Or could it be that as the world gets more twisted, so do our dresses? Either way, it will be hard to resist these elegantly draped dresses from 3.1 Phillip Lim, MM6, and JW Anderson.

Something for Benefit Season

Galas might be temporarily on hold, but when they return, they will be bigger than ever—literally—thanks to ball gowns from Oscar de la Renta, Christian Siriano, and Carolina Herrera.


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