As the peak of the summer approaches with an expectation of lots of traveling, fashion brands are introducing their cruise resort collections to keep the fashion going for the next few months.
About a century ago, fashion designers began introducing Cruise collections somewhere between their Spring / Summer & Autumn / Winter seasons. The goal of these small collections was to focus on those customers who would travel seeking warmer temperatures. New Yorkers would go to Florida or Central America. European elites would seek the closest beach with warm weather where they could relax for the time being.
Cruise or Resort collections are now an important component of fashion houses. Customers around the world travel for leisure and business purposes. Global fashion houses like Gucci, Fendi, and Dior have a loyal clientele across five continents, and it’s an important moment in fashion to listen to the interests of the customers and make them feel seen and acknowledged with the work the fashion houses are producing.
Cruise collections are becoming more exciting in the last couple of years. Fashion designers choose a destination that becomes their inspiration and venue for presenting their work. It’s almost like a themed party where fashion interacts with the culture and aesthetic of this place to create something that the whole world will see and is inspired by.
Cruise collections inspired by a city, a country, or a culture require a lot of research, work, and attention to detail. There is a fine line between “inspired by a culture” and “appropriating a culture.” A couple of years ago, the French designer Isabel Marant was accused of copying Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec embroidered blouses from Oaxaca, Mexico. The designer apologized only after the local government called her out for plagiarizing the work of indigenous communities.
So with a lot of effort and focus on collaboration, fashion houses celebrate craftsmanship, the richness of culture, and diversity in their cruise/resort collections.
With the idea of aspirational vacations, luxurious destinations, and beautiful clothes, fashion brands are presenting their cruise collections in major resort places around the world.
Here are some of the highlights of this cruise season and what trends and design elements stand out.
Carolina Herrera in Rio de Janeiro
Carolina Herrera’s gowns are very well known for the classic cuts, modesty, and sophistication. The colors of Brazil inspired their Cruise 2024 collection. Image Courtesy of Carolina Herrera.
Every year, we see florals during the warm seasons. This year, they are tridimensional. Image Courtesy of Carolina Herrera.
Right in the center of Rio de Janeiro, Carolina Herrera presented the Cruise 2024 collection. The clothes reflected the fashion house’s sophistication and classic silhouettes that are a favorite for red carpet moments and elegant occasions. However, for this collection, the clothes are colorful and full of joy, and the tropical vibrance of Brazil.
The creative team carefully considered the show with many elements that celebrated Brazil, including a 100% Brazilian cast and the soundtrack of icon Gal Costa.
The constant rain changed a few logistics of the show. On a very wet stage, the models walked barefoot and carried their pair of shoes in one hand. And since the collection was about resort, and vacations, it didn’t seem so off that models walked the runway with big hats, swimwear, sunglasses, and a pair of pumps in their hands.
Dior’s Cruise show in Mexico City also had a few last-minute changes due to the rain. But this weather serendipity ends up making the shows feel more real. Professional fashion models in resort destinations walking under the rain.
Chanel in Los Angeles
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel made it to the City of Stars when her name was beginning to get recognition among the French upper class. It took a little longer for the brand to gain the global recognition that it has today, where Chanel’s brand is very well-known and established across Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Calabasas.
So it made sense to have a Chanel cruise show in Los Angeles, a city that has received well the French empire and that is full of sources of inspiration to enhance the sophistication of a summer season.
This is also a moment when fashion is very celebrity-focused. A major media emphasis in fashion shows is associated with the guest list and what they wear to the fashion shows. These photos very often get even more attention than the fashion show in itself.
Designing for celebrities wasn’t Coco Chanel’s vision when starting her hat boutique in Paris during the first half of the 20th century, nor was it Karl Lagerfeld’s when he cast a very particular type of fashion model who would meet his strict standards of beauty. But this is a major trend, and Chanel has had to level up their celebrity game as brands like Gucci and Dior are already way ahead of the game.
The silhouettes honor the 70’s. The pops of color and sparkly textures are Chanel’s efforts to keep the brand attractive to young consumers. The history of very exclusive clothing from Chanel prevails but wants to keep relevant by attracting new consumers and updating its design aesthetic while keeping some of the visual elements of the French fashion house.
MaxMara in Stockholm
The logo mania that Supreme, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Balenciaga have spread like a good rumor in the last two years is reaching a declining point. Consumers are close to tired of the loud and colorful graphics and logos in clothing and fashion accessories. These graphics are loud, very explicit, and noisy. So it makes sense that after a couple of seasons, consumers don’t want or need another handbag covered with logos in an extravagant color.
The decline of the logo mania has opened doors to quiet luxury. A trend that we see growing with the fashion moments of Gwyneth Paltrow’s trial full of designer clothing worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and still elegant, tailored, well-made, and without a single logo or graphic.
During this Cruise 2024 season, we see how the quiet luxury major trend that HBO (now MAX) series, Succession popularized, is translated to the warm seasons of the year.
Max Mara presented a collection inspired by Scandinavian culture. The neutral colors and the minimal design elements of the clothes were very consistent in tops, bottoms, dresses, accessories, footwear, and sweaters. Even the floral prints were treated in a way that wasn’t loud or bold. The elegance of Max Mara and quiet luxury were very present in this Scandinavian-inspired collection with folklore and women empowerment in mind.
Louis Vuitton Isola Bella, Italy
Nicolas Ghesquiere, a brilliant talent in the fashion world, presented his Cruise 2024 collection for Louis Vuitton at the beautiful petite Isola Bella island in the north of Italy in Lago Maggiore. The scene had bright green grass, the waves of the sea, and a sculpture garden with over 300 years of history.
The designer was inspired by the venue, with the vision of creating female mythological creatures, that throughout the sequence of the show, transformed into botanical references.
The Louis Vuitton Cruise 2024 show had dramatic accents, like accessories designed by an atelier in Rome that works for theater and cinema projects.
There was a wide variety of textiles and textures in the show. Matte and stiff vinyl, soft lace, crisp wovens, and sculptured skirts embellished with sequins. The styling with headpieces, feathers, and boots gave a surreal storytelling that feels like a Resort on a futuristic island. The beauty of fabric engineering is celebrated with grace.
So how do these fashion-forward pieces inspire fashion trends that the mass consumer actually ends up wearing? The visual components that stand out in this show will be used by Louis Vuitton for the products that they will sell in stores. These products will serve as inspiration for other designers who are not as fashion-forward as Ghesquiere. These then go to department stores, where the mass consumers will have fully understood by then what the fashion trends are about.
But it all started with Ghesquiere’s vision inspired by a beautiful 16th-century garden on a petite Italian island.
Dior in Mexico City
The venue that the House of Dior chose to present its Dior Cruise 2024 collection was the Colegio San Ildefonso in Mexico City. At this school, Frida Kahlo went to school and met her partner Diego Rivera. Colegio San Ildefonso also carries a lot of history with its murals by remarkable artists from the 20th century, such as José Clemente Orozco and Louis Henri Jean Charlot.
Maria Grazia, Dior’s Creative Director, has found sources of inspiration in Mexico throughout the years. In fact, she wanted to present a fashion show in Mexico City a few years ago but wanted to give some time after an Italian fashion house chose this city to host their show in 2018.
The collection makes reference to Frida Kahlo’s way of dressing and paintings. There are butterfly motifs in embroideries and many pieces of jewelry. There was also a rich diversity of textures that is a result of a great collaboration between the House of Dior and Mexican artisans who handcrafted textiles to celebrate the country’s culture with Dior’s vision for their Cruise 2024 collection.
This Cruise season was particularly fascinating as the concept of Resort is quickly changing. Previously, it was all about white and navy, sailor-themed clothing and bathing suits, assuming everyone traveled to the beach over the summer for vacations. But time is changing. People are traveling and working. The dress codes for the beach and the city have changed as globalization has merged cultures opening a wide variety of interpretations. We also see how summer is not a synonym for sunny. We saw Cruise 2024 fashion shows with raindrops, coats, and dark colors. The climate is changing, and fashion is adapting to the needs of the customer during this season between the summer and the fall collections.
Fashion, as humans, adapts to nature and changes in order to evolve.