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Why Resort collections are significant to fashion

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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BACKGROUND In the past fortnight a plethora of fashion shows by luxury brands have been broadcast around the globe. While there is no official fashion week calendar at this time of year in any of the major four runway capitals, it is the season of Resort 2020, aka Cruise, which largely takes place in May and June.

Christian Dior debuted its resort collection in idyllic Marrakech on April 30th, followed by Prada in its uptown New York headquarters, Chanel in the Grand Palais in Paris, and Louis Vuitton at the historic TWA Flight Center in New York. There was a gap of six days in between the shows presented by Prada and Louis Vuitton in New York, meaning most international editors would have flown in twice. What is the point, exactly, of these Resort collections, one could be inclined to ask.

Cruise collections were clothes for the elite

Once upon a time cruise and resort were collections with a purpose to dress elite customers going on end of year holidays. Department stores stores were traditionally full of parkas and winter items at this time and a need for summery fabrics, swimwear and a holiday wardrobe was missing from the racks. But end of year holidays, think cruises to the Mediterranean, are no longer privy to an era of jet setters in the age of affordable commercial air travel. And online shopping has made it possible to buy bikinis at arctic temperatures and snow boots at the height of summer. In short, you can buy anything, anywhere, at any time of year.

To each their own

Luxury brands must cater to many different markets, with clients living in different temperates with different fashion needs. Arab and Russian markets require clothes for different temperatures than those living in the west, but that still doesn’t justify the need for an additional runway collection.

Resort runways are international spectacles

Some would argue that Resort collections are expensive and a waste of time, costing millions of dollars for clothes that will be available in store from November to April, but are not a part of a brand’s mainline campaign.

Luxury brands often choose international spectacles to show their Resort ranges, like Fendi’s 2007 extravaganza on top of the Great Wall of China, or Chanel, which has shown everywhere from Cuba to Salzburg, Edinburgh, Dallas and Shanghai.

Still others are of the opinion that brands could easily merge resort wear as capsule collections into their main lines shown during global fashion month, rather than as a stand alone collection mid-season. For editors and buyers it would mean a longer stretch of no travel between ready-to-wear which ends in March and menswear which starts in June and haute couture in July.

But this is just surface chatter. In the age of Instagram every runway collection has an expiry date. With ever-growing appetites for new fashion and greater speed to market, Resort collections fill the gap between mainlines and pre collections. More importantly, there are less restrictions with a Resort collection, which brands can show on their own terms outside of the industry regulated fashion week schedules and locations.

For luxury brands where budget is not a primary concern, the world is their oyster when it comes to showing Resort. They can opt to show in new locations and burgeoning markets, bringing their unique brand value and aesthetics to customers who do not necessarily travel to traditional fashion week cities. They can partner with localised press and celebrities, all the while bringing the fashion buzz and glamour from back home. What’s not to love?

Photo credit: Chanel Resort 2020, source: Chanel website

Cruise Collection
Louis Vuitton