PRE-FALL 2018 Chloé.

Pre-Fall may be the hyphen between her freshman and sophomore runway outings, but for Chloé designer Natacha Ramsay-Levi, it’s more like home base. She has spent most of her career steering pre-collections, starting back in her Balenciaga years.

“Pre-collections are where you really dress a lot,” she offered. “With a show, you’re thinking about a look, the crafting, and an element of astonishment. With a pre-collection, you’re thinking a lot about the direction of things and questioning everything piece by piece. There’s something almost timeless about it because the pieces have to work into a wardrobe without screaming what season they’re from.”

The designer concedes that working in fashion means changing your mind a lot. But with this collection she delivers a savvy exercise in repeating yourself just enough to be reassuring. Key elements from the Spring runway are carried over, remixed, and layered with activewear or utilitarian accents and a smattering of hints as to where Chloé is headed next (inevitably, the designer declined to elaborate a little more on that point).

No matter—there was plenty to think about here as it is. The springboard was shirting, from a long, breezy button-down shirtdress to 1970s-print blouses, new iterations on the high-neck ruffled blouse, and a handful of riffs on the polo, notably one in scales of deep green sequins with a leather stripe in back and lace edging.

The horse motif returned, cantering across pale peach blouses and onto a new bucket bag. The O and stylized C signatures cropped up anew, variously on hardware or as topstitching on the pocket of a teal denim shirt, in prints, or on buttons. Spring’s prints got welcome encores as patches or as talismans in the house’s burgeoning jewelry line.

The cropped pants were back, too, worn with plum or deep blue lace-up boots (leg warmers optional) or—in one of the designer’s favorite looks—paired with a checkered coat and the new leather, nylon, and canvas high-top sneaker. For those not quite ready for that length, there were high-waisted, fitted flares or cargo-inspired pants paired smartly with white blouses and fitted jackets. Winning coats included a mocha peacoat, a cotton-and-nylon trench, and a wool cape with contrasting stripes and just a hint of horsiness.

Ask Ramsay-Levi to define her own style, and she’ll claim to have no idea. “I admire people who have a uniform, but I’ve never found mine and I probably never will because I love fashion’s diversity,” she explained. For Chloé fans, Pre-Fall’s uniforms just got sorted.