Haute totes

As the mood for next season promises to be a lesson in functional minimalism (yay!), it follows that bags will be just as sensible. So none of this small-scale silliness, we need proper totes to, well, tote our wordly goods in. Celine is already there with these AW10 super-soft red leather totes and will continue the directive with taller but just as useful bags for Cruise 2011.


Stuart Vevers is backing the trend with his Papelle collection of paper-look leather haute totes. Aren’t they lovely? (Although they do look rather similar to the Spooner & Watts bags below…)

Pre-collection for dummies


I feel like all I have done for the past few weeks is eat, sleep and breathe pre-collection. If I’m not ogling Georgia Jagger at Chanel Cruise in St Tropez, I’m getting to grips with Phoebe Philo’s year-round furs for Celine or lusting after the just-dropped pre-fall collections in stores and online. Pre-collections have been around for donkey’s years but only recently has there been all the hoopla more usually associated with ready-to-wear. So why all the fuss now? I brought this up with Luisa de Paula, buying director of My-wardrobe.com who shed light on the matter. What I learnt…

ONLINE FASHION RETAIL HAS BOOSTED DEMAND FOR ‘PRE’
The immediacy of online has fuelled a buy-right-now culture. The ‘new in’ section of any etail site is always busiest because that type of customer wants the most up-to-date fashion. The appeal of ‘pre’ for buyers is it fills a gap between spring-summer and autumn-winter or autumn-winter and spring-summer. While most of us are still shopping the sales, the ‘buy-right-now’ customer is craving newness and shopping pre-fall or Cruise. Pre-collections ensure that ‘new in’ never stops delivering.

PRE-COLLECTIONS HAVE A BIGGER SELLING WINDOW SO BUYERS LOVE IT
Due to timings, pre-collections are on the shop floor for longer that RTW collections. This gives them a nice long stretch of about 6 months before the mark-downs begin. Buyers therefore make more money on full-priced pre-collections. “Pre-collections are a must and we want more of them, because it gives you longer to sell it,’ says de Paula. “Otherwise it’s a race to sell it before it goes into sale.”

CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS PRE-COLLECTION NOW HAS A DIFFERENT PURPOSE
In the past, the Resort and Cruise collections were so-called because they were aimed at jet-set customers travelling to warmer climes for the winter months and mostly consisted of beachwear and cocktail dresses. Now with a climate that has less-defined seasons, the purpose of ‘pre’ has changed. It’s become more about seasonless dressing, wearability, layering and understated pieces and less about trend-led statement-makers.

FASHION INFLUENCERS LIKE PRE BECAUSE IT’S NOT OBVIOUS
The trouble with ‘it’ pieces from RTW collections is they quickly become over-exposed. Do you really want those Prada chandelier shoes when they’ve been on every B-lister’s feet and copied by Primark, Peacocks and Dorothy Perkins? Wouldn’t you rather have a less identifiable piece from a smaller collection? Apparently ‘yes’ say the early-adopters.

EASY-TO-LAYER PIECES ARE THE SUCCESS STORIES OF PRE-COLLECTIONS
Luisa de Paula raves about Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania line, a consistent best-seller of My-wardrobe’s pre-collections. DKNY also sells well. Their common quality is jersey – a perfect all-year-round fabric for layering as the temperature requires.

New in from My-wardrobe’s pre-collections:

McQ Alexander McQueen dress, £270

Paul & Joe Sister stripe dress, £108

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania scarf dress, £296

Paul & Joe print dress, £348

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania red print dress, £408

[Main pic: Celine pre-fall, Style.com]

Italian khakis – who knew?


So, The Sartorialist informs me there is something called ‘Italian khakis’. Eureka! This is what I’ve been looking for forever. A skinny, ankle-length chino to wear in the summer with a half-tuck T-shirt and loafers or brogues and no socks. COS, Gap, Uniqlo et al, please take note. Girls need these…

This week on Cocosa…

…there’s a clearance sale. I know! I have already chosen my top picks on Cocosa.com(sign up with invite code ‘Disneyrollergirl’ to see my choices as June’s guest editor) and they include Luella’s cat-eye sunnies for £45 and a Graeme Black dress for *gasp* £99. (more…)