The popularity of the designer Cruise Collection is old news. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, a range of different fashion designers have jumped on the bandwagon of debuting a cruise fashion (“resort wear”) line intended for catwalk-loving consumers who spend their summers relaxing by luxurious swimming pools. However, there’s something new that’s been taking place in regards to these runway shows – they’re changing locations this year. Whereas these shows were primarily hosted in the same fashion capitals that other runway shows take place in (like New York), this year has seen a series of the shows crop up in much less traditional places around the world (Miami, Florence). Perhaps the designers have been so inspired by their own collections that they’ve been bitten by the travel bug themselves.
It makes a lot of sense for Cruise Collection runway shows to take place in alternative locations where people might actually wear this type of clothing. New York certainly loves any type of runway show from a major designer but the traditionally dressed-in-black consumers of the New York fashion world aren’t going to be rushing to purchase the vibrant beach-inspired colors of these lines. In contrast, the vacationers who are interested in spending their time in a beautiful city that isn’t known for being a fashion capital are going to be the ones who are really won over by the designs that debut at this time of year.
Take, for example, the recent runway show in Florence that Diane von Furstenberg put on. The audience seated in the stunning gardens where the show was held included vacationing celebrities like Eva Longoria and other designers like Eva Cavalli. These people were pleased to get a chance to just kick back and relax in a low-intensity setting while they watched the collection be revealed. The setting was perfect for the clothing itself. The highlight of the new collection was a line of handkerchief dresses featuring travel prints such as old tourist maps and miniature airplanes. The clothing is smart enough to be worn in urban areas by trendy ladies but only the gardens of a place like Florence could truly capture the genius behind them.
Von Furstenberg is hardly the first designer to have taken her Cruise Collection out of the fashion capitals and into the travel destinations where the clothing should be worn. Earlier this year we saw the Chanel Cruise show hit the runway stage in Miami, Florida. Karl Lagerfield’s previous Resort Collection from last year was shown off on the West Coast in the fashion capital of Los Angeles but it was this year’s Miami show that really made the resort wear line stand out. The effect was different here; Lagerfield’s collection was more hard-edged rock ‘n roll than might be expected for a Cruise Collection but it was softened by the Miami setting. A set of elaborately beaded dresses with clear plastic insets might’ve looked too harsh for the beach on an L.A. runway but seeing them in Miami made people realize that these are the kind of beach clothes that can easily transition from urban home to vacation destination.
Not all of the designers out there think that the travel destination is the best way to approach the Cruise Collection debut. John Galliano stuck to the traditional fashion city of New York for the debut of the Christian Dior Resort 2009 Collection this year. The 1960’s inspired designs (think peasant blouses) and the bold colors (fushia, lime) may have seemed a little out of place for a New York show but it brought a little bit of fun to the city’s fashion scene and seemed to be well-received. Other designers are considering a more blended approach to the question of where their Cruise Collection shows should be held. For example, Gucci is planning an untraditional vacation destination show in Rome this summer but will also be showing the collection by private appointment in New York.
It’s nice to see big names in the fashion world taking their business to some of the beautiful cities that go less noticed by the industry. It’s difficult to say for sure whether or not this is a trend that will continue. If it does, it’s unlikely to move beyond the resort collection which is the perfect line for a designer to take on vacation. But who knows; maybe you’ll see a leading fashion designer planning a show in your city in the near future? You just never really know where they might want to head next!