Art & Culture

A Sail Through the History of Cruise Collections. Get on Board!

Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and several other brands have been the centre of attention in the last weeks for their Cruise Collection 2023 shows held in mesmerizing scenarios. These Maisons have created an immersive experience for their guests, who have appreciated the collections and ‘dived’ into the central theme of each one of the lines, thanks to the marvellous settings.
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Credits: Shutterstock

Over a month ago, Louis Vuitton travelled to the American West Coast to make the Californian sunset the ideal setting for its show. Nicolas Ghesquière is known for astonishing its guests with awe-inspiring locations that perfectly conjugate with the clothing pieces presented. The Cruise Collection 2023 show was not an exception. His creativeness was perceivable in every detail of the event, just as Alessandro Michele’s was during the same mid-season event for Gucci. In the case of the Italian house, the stars aligned when the collection ‘Cosmogonie’, with a constellations-inspired theme, was presented in Puglia, Italy.

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Credits: Louis Vuitton and Gucci

These are some recent collections presented outside of the two main periods in the fashion calendar, Spring-Summer and Fall-Winter, known by the names ‘Cruise’ or ‘Resort’ Collections. But what exactly are these ‘pre-collections’? The three terms refer to the same idea: mid-season collections presented on the runway between May and June but intended to be released at the end of the year. They are created to provide the customers, especially those who live in places with cold weather, with the appropriate outfits for their tropical vacations during the winter season as a way to escape the low temperatures.

In fact, to refer to these collections, the term' cruise' started to spread out in the early 20th century when wealthy families were looking for the right wardrobe to take with them for their winter holidays in the Mediterranean and other similar cruise destinations. It is believed that Gabrielle' Coco' Chanel was the pioneer of these tropical and beach-allusive lines by releasing the first 'Cruise' collection in 1919, which was inspired by women who would visit Biarritz for the holidays. Moreover, the show by which this line was presented was held outside of Paris, as it took place in Deauville. In addition to the beach and resort traditions, Chanel was the one to promote the tan during the 1920s.


One of the most common prints to be part of the first Resort collections were those involving sailor stripes and navy motifs, alluding to the coastal places the elite customers visited during their vacations and the cruises they embarked on. Nowadays, all sorts of fabrics and designs are found in the Resort lines. Still, light fibres and textiles, such as cotton, silk, and linen, which are essential for tropical weather, are predominant.

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Credits: Shutterstock

It should be noted that these Cruise or Resort collections have become mainly known in the last years because of the amazing spectacles that are arranged for them to be presented. It is not only the lines that get the attention of thousands of renowned fashion personalities but the incredible runways that are held, which are authentic performances and artistic events. As a matter of fact, the theatrical shows, generally, have a much more substantial mediatic impact than the garments themselves. Furthermore, most of the time, these shows are held in atypical cities for fashion matters.


For instance, Dior recently held its Cruise Collection 2023 show at the iconic Plaza de España in Seville, paying tribute to flamenco and gipsy culture and especially honouring the famous 'bailaora' Carmen Amaya, while Chanel travelled to the Côte d'Azur to reveal its elite-lifestyle, racing-inspired collection, which revolves around pure luxury, a glamorous beach style, and Monte-Carlo's cosmopolitan atmosphere.

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