by Jeremy Danté

new year, new clothes. fashion sleeps for no one, and the show season gently begins with wheels turning courtesy of the pre-season collections. in structuring collection reviews, i’ve looked to incorporate ways that strengthen content and reduce verbal static. that means, only speaking on the very best. in no particular order, the collections selected all represent my own preferred style direction. minimal, clean, american by influence by international through it’s sharply executed sense of cut. being in new york city re-shapes your thinking of functionality through style, especially in the winter time. suddenly, one coat is not enough. finding the perfect boot becomes more pivotal than ever. with a renewed sense of style, in balancing function and fashion, i select my an intimate count of my five favorite collection for the 2015 pre-season, all american.

BOSS hugo boss as a company moves to further develop their footing in womenswear. last year they installed jason wu at the label for the BOSS womenswear collections. represented in the clean lines and structured silhouettes, wu brings a youthful sophistication to the collection with precision. while the collection does border considerably close to wu’s own namesake collections, the effort is extended and visible in concept. overall, the collection hosts a dope color story of deep greens that are well contrasted with shots of black. it’s classic, in this clean and modern way. true to wu’s own aesthetic. it’s always interesting to see what way differentiation is flexed and this collection has more similarities than differences. i felt it necessary to include this collection for my pre-season picks as wu’s development as an artist of design has become more sophisticated, after each season. i am excited to see how boss will manage wu’s presence at their label, and considering that these are very american design ideals, i will definitely be watching the evolution of this on-going, contracted collaboration.i loved the focus on the magnified houndstooth. and while this is only a pre-season design collection, i have even higher hopes for what is to come for the fall show season in february. an outstanding job for wu and his team at boss. though a valiant effort, i will say that i am expecting greater amounts of differentiation from wu’s own work. and since boss is still under developed as far as design signatures, this should be an interesting focus to draw upon for the next several seasons.

JASON WU having developed his aesthetic through additional collaborative work with other brands; wu is stronger than ever as a designer. quickly becoming one of my absolute favorites to watch on the new york style scene, this pre-fall collection packs about as much punch as a runway debuted set, in design. there is a design clarity that i feel for the wu collections. there’s a uniformity and cleanliness about wu that is distinctively american. very different from minimalism seen in europe, mostly because of it’s ease and function, i feel. streamlined in black and khaki with a few shots of emerald green and cobalt blue, the collection is a strong showing, even for the pre-season. with his work as boss now well underway, wu’s own aesthetic signature is, which had it’s first major break on the back of michelle obama, at the beginning of the obama administration; has developed into a well round fashion house, representing the clean lines of america, as we near the end of that two term administration. among my favorite designers, strong effort with beautiful use in control of palette. I’m always interested in seeing how aspects of pre-fall collections borrow from past collections, while including new concepts found in the following collection, presented at runway. wu has held pretty strictly to a direction, so I’m excited for what he does this fall on the runways of new york fashion week. i am continually taken by surprise at how jason wu raises the bar for sophistication in ways that are fresh and new, this pre-season collection is one of those gentle reminders, while I’m hoping to see more drama and a lasting effort on the catwalk.

PROENZA SCHOULER pattern is the name of the game for the pre-season, and that was clear at proenza. while they’ve created collections that weren’t exactly on my top list of favorites for a few seasons now, i decided to include them in my pre-season rankings this go ’round. matronly lines cooked in a downtown stew is what this collection felt like. with my love for tighter silhouettes and stronger design concepts, there was a true battle of my two loves. while the choice in patterns was interesting, for sure. i can’t say that this is one of my all-time faves from the design duo; but there is a strong sense of concept here, which i can admire. i think, styled in a way that is purposeful can change or alter the feel of the collection even further. as full looks are considered faux pas in today’s world of style; i can see the potential of a few key pieces, though i would go replicating the complete collection. true as it may be, proenza’s downtown edge, combined with thoughtful american cleanliness still has them a cut above the rest. excited for their fall collection, and will admirably take this pre-season set of looks as the appetizer, while i save my appetite for runway. love what was done with cable knit in this collection for those few looks. walking the line of weirdly cool for the past few seasons, i am hoping that this fall will showcase something more undeniably cool. i can appreciate an angle of ‘interesting’ but lean more towards labels who understand the sense of purified prettiness, if that makes any sense at all. I’m talking refined femininity, and strong shapes. in this collection we see almost a resistance to that sense of beauty. do i think it makes for good dialogue, of course, but why shift perception when you can do your part to accentuate. all things considered, it’s interesting to see the ways that labels borrow influences, or the market and consumers alter certain style demands. all in the business of making trends and redefining the selling of beauty and style. [show footage here]

ALEXANDER WANG often residing between luxury and street; wang further develops his aesthetic in a much more adult, contemporary set of design this pre-season. seemingly influenced through his work at balenciaga, there is a re-introduction being made with wang, for me. his global presence, successful collections at both balenciaga, and the wildly popular H&M collaboration of the last year now cemented, wang is unstoppable. the trickle of influence from one project to the next is undeniable. wang’s award winning instincts have proven to be the true arbiter of american cool. so much so, they had to pluck him from here in the states to continue that cool at balenciaga. this pre-season collection preserves that cool even further. from soft nudes to goth-esque tones of ox blood, wang is out to kill. the usual inclusion of leather was seen while interesting use of fishnet mesh and plaid was included as well. military influenced utilitarianism was seen while sleek, street minimalist was flexed upon as well. all in all, the collection hosted a range of looks to properly secure sales at retail. silhouettes across the board, and everything hard and soft that we’ve come to expect from wang. much like the work of his peers, right here in new york city, wang has continued to raise the bar. expanding his own design dominance in ways that extend beyond style, but speak more largely to that of presence. as designers, these minds change the landscape of individual presence for all who choose to put these designs on their bodies and wear.

3.1 PHILLIP LIM all representing a clean set of design and an american sensibility, lim took expected style standards and remixed their facing. whether it was a deconstructed pea coat, a color blocked shift dress, or a fringed baby doll number, lim defnitely extended himself conceptually for the pre-season. while the blouses in the collection fell flat for me, almost being contrived in design; what i loved most were the coats in this collection. the fall/winter season is always about a statement coat, and this collection hosted the strongest outerwear of my pre-season selection. while bringing out the guns for the outerwear fared well for lim for my picks this time; the lacking wardrobe components of the other collections pieces left his collection with an overall dulled impact in comparison. collections, i feel, should host an equal sense of checks and balances. drama on the outwear calls for clean lines on the accent pieces. drama with accessories calls for scaling it back with other elements. there’s a sense of organization, of story and intention that needs to be felt. it should feel like a collection, and this one- even in the pre-season, felt like scattered thoughts in some moments. that being said, this was one of my favorites for pre-season. i am hoping lim will showcase a much more, well-rounded set of design while continuing the strong suit of outerwear seen in this collection for the runways of new york fashion week. my expectations of strength aside, i do review pre-season with a wandering eye. remaining hopeful that the appetizer of style leads only to stronger courses amidst runway. all importance considered; i much rather take a gander of continuity of strength, regardless of the season, pre-post-whatever. pre-season is the warm-up.

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