Pre-Fall was Blue Farrier's first collection for Issa, and it's obvious that it was simply a warm-up for what she did today for Fall 2014, namely hitting it out of the park. It's also obvious that Chloé-trained Farrier knows there's only so long a brand can trade off of a silk jersey wrap dress—DVF owns that anyway, and there's not much room in fashion for another patent holder. From the first look out, it was clear Farrier was pulling back from all that.
Her reference was memories of an eccentric old relative's house—a herringbone parquet floor, linoleum, broken mosaics, and a general feeling of old world-ness. Herringbone zigzags came out via wild stripes on a blanket shawl, a silk Issey Miyake-like pleated skirt, and an extraordinary top and trouser suit. The broken mosaic theme shone beautifully via a nubby wool coat, a jumpsuit with scalloped edges—and a silk jersey dress. Instead of doing endless takes on that piece, Farrier underplayed it: There was one in a pebble print, and a gown version but with black and white flowers that were plasticized onto the sleeves. Somehow it seemed more modern and sophisticated than previous versions, and, beautiful though it was, it didn't take top billing. The standout piece was a simple black silk dress with scalloped edging—an upgrade on the LBD.
Farrier gave equal billing to both fabric and silhouette. There was flocking, hand-knitting, plasticizing, and delicate hand-beading, and all the shapes were well thought-out: statement shoulders, kimono sleeves, and precise masculine cuffs on blouses, plus flirty little touches like oversize bows and crystal badges on coats. It had been apparent that change was on the horizon for Issa, but it hadn't been clear it would be this good and this fast.