Most designers visit museums to find inspiration in Monets, Pollocks, or Picassos. For Pre-Fall, Elie Tahari was thinking about the outside of a museum—specifically, the new Renzo Piano-designed Whitney in downtown Manhattan. “I’m always inspired by architecture, and I like the play of proportions in the building,” said Tahari. “I was also thinking about its mixed materials.” The concept came through quite literally in a few laser-cut pieces that resembled hundreds of windows on a skyscraper, as well as contrasting fabrics like nylon, leather, coated linen, and neoprene. While much of the fashion community has grown tired of scuba synthetics, Tahari is still very much on board; here, neoprene pencil dresses were featherweight and printed with blurred, Gerhard Richter-esque prints. They looked good, but the designer was most successful when he experimented with exotic skins such as supple suede, fluffy shearling, and lustrous pony hair. He admitted it’s “a challenge” to reconcile Pre-Fall’s seasonless, buy-now/wear-now demands, but those rich layers helped bridge the gap between leggy minis and cozy knits.

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