Cruise collections. These glitzy mid-season shows are as crucial to fashion brands as cruises are to the travel industry, says Penny McCormick
Main Image; The Chanel Cruise 2019, held in the Grand Palais in Paris.
Released between the autumn/winter and spring/summer collections, the original aim of the Cruise collections was to kit out wealthy clients who decamped to warmer climes, such as Palm Beach or Miami, during winter months. Coco Chanel is given credit for spotting the lucrative potential of these collections, pioneering the first Chanel Cruise show in 1919 in Deauville, which was inspired by women who would visit Biarritz for the holidays. These early resort collections prioritised sailor stripes and navy motifs in lightweight fabrics essential for tropical weather.
CRUISE SHOWS 2023
Nowadays, cruise shows can make up 60 per cent of a brand’s revenue, and are playing an increasingly important role in the business of fashion. They entice new customers with entry-level items and accessories (from perfumes to pretty pareos), while VIP clients are schmoozed at ritzy parties.
Post-pandemic, it seems brands are desperate to throw major events. Indeed a fashion house will often spend more on its Cruise collection than on a traditional Fashion Week show. Dior held its 2023 Cruise show at the iconic Plaza de España in Seville, paying tribute to flamenco culture and honouring the dancer Carmen Amaya, aka La Capitana. Chanel travelled to the Côte d’Azur to reveal its racinginspired collection on the beach of the Hotel Monte-Carlo. Nicolas Ghesquière, creative director of Louis Vuitton, is known for wowing guests with awe-inspiring locations that are perfectly in sync with the clothing presented. This season Louis Vuitton travelled to the Brutalist Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. “I wanted the clothes to be like reflections, a point of contact between light and people,” explained Ghesquière. Alessandro Michele chose Puglia, Italy as the backdrop of his “Cosmogonie” constellation-inspired cruise collection, his last for Gucci. Zimmermann’s “High Tide” cruise collection embraced the romance of sailing. Creative director Nicky Zimmermann explained: “We worked with our artists to create jaunty sailboat prints, placement world maps and classic 50’s ikat florals.”
Zimmermann Resort SS23
FROM THE CRUISE CATWALK
Burgundy and grey gradient sunglasses; www.chanel.com.
Black, lilac, ecru and silver mini camera bag; www.chanel.com.
High tide belted Zimmermann dress; www.matchesfashion.com.
Orange monogram towelling robe; www.louisvuitton.com.
Red and white bandana book tote; www.dior.com.
Brun yachting lipstick; www.hermes.com