Designers have different ideas about how to handle the seasonality of Pre-Fall: Some treat it as, effectively, a summer collection, with some transitional cooler-weather pieces thrown in; others err on the side of autumn, but integrate lighter fabrics into the mix. Diane von Furstenberg presented her Pre-Fall collection at her studio today, and her answer to the season’s conundrum seemed canny. As she explained, she was going for an urban-hippie, Coachella-girl vibe, but aimed to give a sense of “looking toward fall.” Isn’t that how women approach these clothes in reality—by clinging to that freer summer mood even as they anticipate fall’s occasional chill and its increased formality?
Newish artistic director Michael Herz did the honors, as far as explicating the collection itself. Von Furstenberg tapped Herz for the job less than a year ago, after he curated her 40th anniversary exhibition, Journey of a Dress, and it’s plain he knows the codes of Diane-ness by heart and treats them with real respect. His updates are polite. Case in point, the ur-DVF safari suit in a graphic silk jersey print plumbed from the archives and then magnified, or the classic wrap dresses nudged forward by means of leather trim. Herz is committed to the house’s trademark silk jersey and most of the pieces here featured it in some way. Sometimes it was just a wink, like the silk jersey inset on the bust of an Empire-waist patchwork chiffon maxi dress.
Not all the looks hewed to that curatorial tone. The outerwear, in particular, served to expand the DVF brand vocabulary, especially the flouncy, lightweight tweed coats woven in a vaguely tribal pattern and the silk/linen camouflage anorak with a button-out leopard lining. Still, those clothes felt of a piece with the rest of the offering this season—more than you could say for items like a shirtdress of dip-dyed lace. One of the key codes of DVF is a certain aristocratic mien, and the Coachella reference sometimes pushed this collection in a direction that felt too girly. Anyone who has ever met Diane von Furstenberg can attest to the fact that she seems like someone who’s never been a girl; you get the impression she was born a fully grown woman. That’s something worthy of respect.