While the rest of the world is on a summer holiday, those in the fashion business are on “work-ations”, or “business holidays” if you please.
Just as this new mid-season fashion collection, that is taking on the industry like a tsunami, is known by a few names: Cruise, Resort, Pre-Fall and a new term called Trans-seasonal.
All these terms mean the same thing (an in-betweener) and serve the same purpose (make a hell of a lotta money). It’s a collection presented by a fashion label in addition to its twice-yearly shows (Spring-Summer and Fall-Winter). Cruise collection came about originally to provide for the wealthy jet-setting customer vacationing on Mediterranean cruises. But really, it’s for countries such as India, Australia and Brazil that have little requirement for winter stock. The Empire can fling a stiletto back sometimes.
This season is especially momentous as the three biggest fashion labels have presented their Cruise collections in magical destinations across the world. Dior, helmed by Raf Simons, showed to a gobsmacked New York. Chanel wowed Dubai last week. And over the weekend, Monaco’s elite were presented with Louis Vuitton’s first-ever Cruise fashion show.
Dior took the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the East River as its setting, with an iconic view of Manhattan in front of it. Simons was clearly paying a reverential nod to casual American style and combined it with Dior’s sensibilities. “America is a constant inspiration for me,” he stated in his press release, charming the country that usually looks to the Continent for constant fashion ideas. The silk scarf, or the French “carré”, was transformed into the flag and the leitmotif of the collection. Dior ferries, laden with free champagne, transported guests to the show, but I suspect front-row stars Marion Cotillard and Rihanna came in their limousines.
Karl Lagerfeld, who can really put on a show, took his Cruise 2015 collection to exotic Dubai (for the Europeans that is, for Indians it’s just home). His tongue was taut in his cheek as you could see how inspired he was by the decadent lives of the sheikhs. One golden leather Chanel purse was in the shape of a gasoline gallon, how’s that for pleasing the oil-rich?
The clothes themselves pleased the Arabs muchas, they were replete with Islamic embroideries, tile prints and Chanel’s signature tweeds teamed with luminescent high heels that looked like Dubai’s shiny skyscrapers. It was a spectacular show, like a magical fantasy.
Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquire chose Monaco and the French Riviera as their first Cruise location. A glass cube with a video rock pool floor was the setting for simple commercial clothes. Ghesquire’s predecessor, Marc Jacobs, never designed a Cruise line, it was managed by their former head of women’s wear, a lady called Julie de Libran, who has just moved to Sonia Rykiel.
Insiders reveal these Cruise collections or Pre-collections comprise 75-85 per cent of a fashion label’s annual sales. With their turnovers going into billions, this is clearly big business. “Cruise is our most important collection,” Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s CEO,
announced to a newspaper. “It’s everybody’s biggest collection.”
And here in India, we thought we had too many fashion weeks. Turns out all the business needs is the right kind of new.