When you write about fashion, it is extremely easy to get caught up in the clothes and what they mean within the context of the fashion calendar instead of thinking bigger picture — like, what exactly is this season? When does it ship? How did it get started and why should I care? Given that the resort collections have been in full swing since Chanel showed its offering in Cuba the first week of May, here is some helpful information that might make navigating VogueRunway.com feel less like a case of kid-looking-for-mom-at-supermarket and more like kid-shopping-at-supermarket-for-mom, if you know what I’m saying.
Q1: What exactly is Resort, and how is it different from Cruise or Pre-Spring?
A: Trick question! There is no difference — resort, cruise, pre-spring and sometimes even “holiday” are all interchangeable terms to describe the same pre-collection that comes after fall clothes have gone on sale but before spring clothes have been delivered to stores.
Q2: Why does it exist?
A: Funny you should ask! It was originally intended as a de facto resort collection. That is, clothing you would take on vacation. Light fabrics, bathing suits, hats — you name it, they made it. Not every fashion house subscribed to the lifestyle signified by resort (namely because it was geared toward women wealthy enough to travel in the winter), though it was a common theme among brands targeting the upper echelons of the industry.
Q3: That’s cool. So why are there now, like, fur coats and wool dresses in resort collections?
Well! Evolution is really interesting in that it does not only apply to monkeys becoming men. As the consumer appetite grew for clothing deliveries outside the traditional seasons of spring and fall (which most commonly drop in stores in February and September, respectively), more brands opted to include resort collections in their offerings. With this increase in supply came a new purpose for the clothes — namely to be able to wear them whether you were going to travel or not.
Q4: So when does it ship?
Right around “resort” season — mid-November to catch the Thanksgiving rush and carry you straight through Christmas.
Q5, 6: Weren’t you in London last week for a couple of resort shows? Does everyone have a show, or show a collection?
It’s becoming more and more common. It used to be that brands would release look book images to media outlets that would then be published without actually hosting formal presentations or shows, but some designers have taken the pre-collections to the hashtag-next-lev. Dior and Gucci showed their resort collections in London in June. Louis Vuitton showed in Rio in May. Chanel was in Cuba a few weeks earlier. I think I heard the next show might take place on Mars!
Q8: So for the designers who do show, are the collections smaller? Is the experience different?
It is certainly more intimate. There’s no street style fanfare (though that is starting to change, too) and commonly, the collections are a little smaller — though the bigger houses like Gucci or Chanel are still stockpiling something like 90+ looks. Whoa!
Q9: Do you find it necessary?
Frankly, it seems like a lot of pressure — particularly on a young designer — to churn out so many collections every year. Why not just split the “mainline” collections into two drops? This way stores and consumers are getting four installments of fresh product at different times. Of course, this won’t actually happen. Resort is, technically speaking, a really important season for vendors.
Q10: Oh, really, why?
Well! It remains on sales floors longest without actually going on sale. If Spring ships between February and April, with most product coming in around mid-March when it’s freezing and no one cares about raffia trim, that gives it, like, six weeks before it goes on sale. With resort, though, which you now know lands in November, product stays on sales floors at full price until mark downs start at the end of May. Ba da bing! Ba da boom!
I guess this all presents the larger question, though, of how much stuff we, the consumer, really need, no?
Runway images via Vogue Runway.