Style Check: labels promote cruise and resort collections with gala shows

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 9:21am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 9:21am

Many have noted the growing trend among the world's biggest fashion houses to splash out on a spectacular cruise or resort collection show in an unlikely location.

Houses such as Christian Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton are leading the way and competing with each other for the attention of leading fashion editors, celebrities and VIPs with extravagant between-season events.

The invitations are hard to come by, with editors and special guests flown in.

Celebrities are also flooding in, because the experience is deemed as more "insider" and "exclusive" than the regular ready-to-wear shows. Of course, it also has to do with the resort and the cruise collections emerging as strong commercial lines for luxury labels, with more wearable outfits on offer to lure customers bored with the mid-season lull between spring-summer and autumn-winter.

As Dior CEO Sidney Toledano told The New York Times during a cruise show in New York a few weeks ago, these seasons are becoming increasingly important.

People want a faster turnover, and added "newness", and this appetite is being satiated by those brands who can afford it. And purses are deep, with fancy locations and opulent touches on offer for each experience. Branded boats? Done. Male models greeting you in sailor outfits? Yes, that was Dior, too. A castle setting? Yup, Chanel. Royal connections? Yes, Louis Vuitton certainly has that covered.

Chanel just held its cruise spectacular in Dubai, with 1,000 guests. Singapore and Edinburgh have also provided unusual settings for fashion shows.

The brand started doing these special location-based shows for mid-collections in 2000. Louis Vuitton, a brand never to be outdone on going large, had its first cruise collection show by Nicolas Ghesquière in Monaco, in the opulent grounds of the Palace Square on Saturday.

More houses are likely to want to hop onto this bandwagon, although it will only be the super brands that can afford it. Another layer of the fashion insider experience is emerging, as ready-to-wear shows become more immediate and democratic.

Live streaming, an overdose of blogging, and increasing public knowledge have pushed out the "closed door" feeling at ready-to-wear.

The high fashion industry has now managed to create that lost mystique somewhere else.