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Should cruise and resort collections be back to business as usual?

By Kristopher Fraser


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Image: Louis Vuitton

With the return of international travel comes the return of destination resort and cruise collection shows. Chanel recently unveiled its cruise collection in Monaco. Dior is set to present its cruise collection in Spain after showing in Greece last summer. Louis Vuitton will present its cruise collection today in California. Yes, the jet-set crowd is back, bold, and fashionable.

The return to destination cruise and resort collection shows has pros and cons

While it is exciting to get back to the beauty of cruise collections and international travel, after the pause on life from the global COVID-19 lockdowns, it is surprising destination shows returned the way they did. During the lockdown, many designers seemed to stop and reflect on how fast and constant the fashion system runs, and if it was sustainable. Some brands do up to six collections a year between spring/summer, fall/winter, pre-fall, cruise/resort, and two couture collections.

In 2020, when the resort and cruise shows began getting canceled left and right, one of the first questions was how sustainable destination resort and cruise shows were bringing editors, buyers, stylists, and celebrities globetrotting all around the world, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes. Now, as we resort and cruise season is back in full force, it’s business as usual.

Before we go any further, let's get a brief glimpse into the history of resort and cruise collections. These collections became holiday extensions for luxury fashion brands. The holiday season is the time of the year when the jet setters will take to their winter homes and go on lavish resort vacations. Why be in the freezing cold when you can afford to escape? They began in the 1920s as small collections just to give customers a few options to go bask in beach weather, but have since evolved into full-scale collections worthy of runway shows and the attendance of A-list celebrities and fashion editors.

With the fashion industry already being so saturated and there being so much product out there, how exactly did we get back to business as usual when it comes to resort shows? Vogue Business reported that between the direct costs of flights, supply chains, and production resources, fashion buyers and designers alone contribute 241,000 tons of carbon emissions a year by attending Fashion Month, which is equal to more than the total emissions of a small country.

For starters, many in the fashion industry complained about the magic of runway collections being lost on screen. There is magic for in-person runway shows that watching them online doesn’t capture. On the other hand, as the fashion industry works toward carbon neutrality, the future of resort and cruise collections looks questionable.

Cruise and resort are necessary for some markets. In Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia, where climates are favorable to more summary offerings year-round, the fall/winter statement coats and cashmere sweaters luxury brands offer simply won’t do. Buyers and retailers in these markets find cruise and resort collections necessary to keep their stores running.

Cruise and resort collections are also extremely profitable. Chanel once revealed that from November to May, cruise and resort collections represent 30 percent of the brand’s revenue. Some brands, like Gucci, have opted to sacrifice resort and cruise collections entirely in favor of two off-season shows with enough product to carry stores through six months at a time.

For now, most brands are following the traditional resort and cruise collection schedule. Editors and buyers realize the value of cruise collections, and if people are shopping, the power of cruise and resort won’t wane anytime soon. Hopefully, these shows will take the environmental impact of production into further account in the future.

Louis Vuitton