As a result of the new calendars dictated by fast fashion over the past fifteen years, mid-season collections are an opportunity for luxury brands and maisons to offer new products while providing a preview of the season to come.
But in an era of new conscious consumption and in view of energy and supply difficulties, are the pre-fall and resort collections still in vogue?
We met with Christelle Cagi Nicolau, Emerging Brands Project Manager for the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode and Collection et Retail Merchandising, Brand Development Lecturer at the Institut Français de la Mode, to shed light on the evolution of the pre-collection system.
How did the pre-collections settle into the fashion calendar?
Christelle Cagi Nicolau: “Cruise collections first appeared a century ago, then became obsolete and reappeared about thirty years ago. Renamed “Pre-fall” for the Autumn-Winter collections and “Resort” for the Spring-Summer collections, they have become increasingly important, especially in women’s ready-to-wear houses that show at the end of September and the end of February.”
What needs do they meet for fashion houses and consumers?
Christelle Cagi Nicolau: “They satisfy a customer’s need for new products initiated by fast-fashion and consolidated by the DNVB drops. They allow the houses to develop sales of new collections during high-traffic sales periods. These houses often take advantage of pre-collections to promote their iconic shapes or materials. The pre-collections therefore enable them to secure their revenue twice over by the presence of very commercial pieces and by taking orders in advanced wholesale from distributors.”
Almost two years after the start of the Covid crisis and in the context of raw material and energy supply difficulties, should we expect a change in this calendar?
Christelle Cagi Nicolau: “Tensions over the manufacture of materials and production delays do not call for a change, as pre-collections also allow brands to better secure their business in the event of production delays during the season.”
Pictures of Blossom PV from December 21, a show dedicated to luxury pre-collections.
The pre-collection system allows brands to offer new products at a higher rate, but is this model being challenged by the rise of more reasoned consumption?
Christelle Cagi Nicolau: “This more conscious consumption leads to a demand for creativity and quality that favours longer timings. Secondly, after decades of mass consumption, pieces are desirable when they are offered in limited numbers or sometimes exclusive to a distributor… Reasoned consumption in terms of the number of pieces does not therefore necessarily lead to a reduction in marketing campaigns and collection sizes in terms of the number of product references.”
As someone who works a lot with emerging brands and designers, how do they feel about these mid-season collections? Are we seeing new patterns emerging from young designers?
Christelle Cagi Nicolau: “When they are direct-to-consumer in their strategy, young brands frame their season in digital themes with pieces in stock or on pre-order. These pre-collections in the middle of summer or winter can allow them to avoid selling off these pieces when the weather starts to get hot or cold. When they are wholesale B to B international oriented as it is the case with the designers of Paris Fashion Week, the young designers present only one collection per season, but they sometimes try to market part of it earlier as a buyer’s preview before their show or presentation where they add new pieces and broadcast pictures of their collection.”