wait, what is "cruise "and why is it suddenly important?
You may have noticed an influx of fashions on your timeline this week, but it’s not Fashion Week, it’s Cruise Week.
Image via Instagram
This week, after observing a number of “cruise” fashion shows on Instagram, you may be wondering when said “cruise” falls in the year, and what it is exactly. You may also be wondering if it’s really necessary to have yet another round of people sitting on benches watching models walking very fast. Well, have no fear, fashion fans (not that you were particularly afraid to begin with) -- here is our primer on all things cruise.
What is it?
Cruise, or as it’s called in the USA, “resort”, was initially supposed to be a collection of summer clothes than dropped in mid winter. “But why,” you may ask, “why would anyone need gauzy blouses in the snow?” Well, because traditionally the rich spent their winters somewhere warm, either on a cruise (yup), or paddling in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Obviously, they didn’t want wear to wear fur coats to do this, unless they were a fan of the bikini-fur-coat combo so elegantly put forward by Lil’ Kim. And thus, cruise was born -- a collection for people who needs things to wear on holiday, by luxury houses such as Chanel, Christian Dior, and Gucci.
Why haven’t I heard of it before though?
Previously, cruise was more of an industry term -- we’re not sure that anyone was that worried about sarongs and shoulderless tops. That changed however when the big houses realised that the mid-point of the year, i.e. right now, would be a great time to inject some excitement (read: sales) into their brands. Thus, we now have a full slate of fashion shows from the biggest houses, often happening in far flung locales such as Kyoto (Louis Vuitton) and Cuba (Chanel). The past week or so has taken us to France, where Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci have all chosen to show, calling upon both the rich history of the region, and the fact that people would really like to go on holiday there. Prada, ever contrary, just presented their star-studded show in New York.
It’s really blowing up my ‘gram.
Cruise is exclusive -- only a handful of the press and influencers are invited, as opposed to fashion week when the whole world turn up. It also helps that it’s usually somewhere warm and glamorous. You’d want to let people know about it too -- cruise is like the “limited edition” of fashion weeks.
Okay, why is it interesting from a fashion standpoint?
Cruise gives designers license to go on the kind of flights of fancy that are no longer seen on the runway that often, so heavy are the commercial expectations upon them. Maria Grazia Chiuri, at Dior, found inspiration in the women horse riders of Mexico, while Nicolas Ghesquière put out a collection that was the epitome of his conceptual, 80s style at Louis Vuitton. Which is to say -- cruise is somewhere designers can experiment semi-freely, safe in the knowledge that by mid-winter shoppers will be desperate to buy something a little exciting and different. Who hasn’t bought something rather, *ahem*, unusual to wear on holiday? You probably just bought it on the high street rather than on Avenue Montaigne.
Who’s wearing it? Can I?
Well, as previously mentioned, it’s a hit with the internationally rich. Cleverly, many of them come from warmer climates than the now relatively impoverished European market -- China, the Middle East, or South America. They are especially unbothered about buying heavy winter coats, and so this is the season for them. Although to be honest most brands big or small now have a cruise line, and with global warming licking warmly around our ankles, maybe soon cruise will be the most hotly anticipated season for us all.