All eyes on the rise of Resort and Cruise collections

Tuesday, 20 May 2014
As the pace of growth within the global luxury goods sector continues to slow, more and more luxury labels are turning to their resort and cruise collections to win over waning consumers in the gap between spring/summer and fall/winter collections.

According to a recent study by Italian luxury association firm Fondazione Altagamma and Bain & Co., worldwide sales of luxury items are predicted to grow between 4 and 6 percent this year, less than the 6.5 percent increase witnessed in 2013. “We are entering a new phase for the sector, call it a new normal,” commented Claudia D'Arpizio, partner at Bain & Co. in an interview with Reuters.

Luxury labels to increasingly focus on resort and cruise collections

With the number of luxury consumers growing and their tastes continuing to diversify, fashion companies who stick to a one-size fits all concept tend to get left behind. “The luxury consumer of the future will become increasingly heterogeneous and luxury brands and operators need an immediate upgrade to their consumer strategies to recognize and react to this growing diversity, else risk falling behind,” said D'Arpizio.

According to Bain & Co. Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study 2014, 55 percent of the global luxury goods consumer base (330 million) move between luxury and “premium” purchases. In a bid to widen their product range and win global fashion customers over, many luxury labels such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton are honing their focus on their resort/cruise collections.

In the past resort and cruise collections were associated with the wealthy upper-classes who needed to purchase holiday clothing for their winter getaways. Now luxury fashion labels have been tapping into their resort and cruise collections in a bid to offer customers something 'new,' and to keep up consumer increasingly fashion needs who are encouraged by fast-fashion brands that offer new items each day.

"The customer is demanding it"

"The customer wants it, and the giant Dior cruise show, wherever it is next year, is here to stay. The customer is demanding it,” said Sidney Toledano, chief executive of Dior, said in a previous interview with the NY Times. “People want more fashion, and they want more newness.”

This month alone saw Christian Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton host spectacular catwalk shows for their resort and cruise collections in an array of cities around the world, a growing trend among luxury labels. Christian Dior held its biggest resort show to date, inviting and flying over 900 guests to New York's Brooklyn Navy Yard to see the collections' 66 versatile looks and renting private ferries to shuttle guests back and forward.

Not to be outshone, Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of Chanel, held its 2014/2015 cruise collection show in Dubai, with over 1,000 guests attending decadent event which was staged in a specially constructed venue in the desert. Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton held its first ever cruise collection show under the artistic direction of Nicolas Ghesquiére in Monaco, with 300 guests attending the event in a glass square.

“Everybody is looking at the cruise collection as important as the summer collection,” added Toledano. “Maybe even more important in terms of buying.” Resort and cruise collections have also been emerging as a strong commercial lure for luxury labels as the collections remain in stores the longest and hold the trans-seasonal appeal to suit almost any wardrobe.

“We will deliver at the end of October, you see, and we will be selling this collection up until May. It’s long. The summer collection will be presented in early October. The time is shorter.” With ready-to-wear lines according for more of the luxury labels sales, the importance of having strong and commercially successful resort and cruise collection is magnified “Resort collections are obviously where you take care of the reality aspect of fashion,” said Raf Simons, creative director for Dior. “I like to see my clothes worn.”

Photo 1: Chanel Cruise Collection Show in Dubai.
Photo 2: Nicholas Ghesquiére, Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection Show in Monaco.
Photo 3: Christian Dior Resort Collection Show in Brooklyn, New York.

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