Are Resort Collections Dead in the Water?


With the winter winds now howling outside my home here in Eastern Europe, it seems natural to let one’s thoughts drift to warm weather destinations and beach side resorts. My stroll down Rue de Rivoli in Paris last week reminded me that for upscale designer labels, resort wear collections are de rigueur at this point in the annual fashion calendar. Whether or not one has a sunny holiday getaway on tap, one cannot help but to wonder if resort collections are indeed a thing of the past. With the bulk of designer pieces barely moving off-shelves in retails stores and jet-setting jaunts frowned upon by the eco-conscious set, why are designers and retailers continuing to generate these capsule collections in a market that is already saturated with goods? Tradition can be a lovely thing, but surely we can make do with some of our spring/summer favorites and timeless pieces from the reserves of our fair weather stash?

Marc Jacobs Resort 2011

There is no doubt that wardrobe shopping for a snowbird beach holiday warms one’s winter-weary bones in a way that outshines layering with heavy woolens. But shoppers who frequent big name department stores might not realize that designers who create resort collections (also known as cruise collections or pre-collections) are feverishly creating these ready-to-wear holiday offerings in addition to their bi-annual collections for spring/summer and autumn/winter. This has been a celebrated tradition for decades with high-end fashion houses such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and Marc Jacobs, to name a few, creating for both retailers and magazine glossies expecting this high-octane output.

Chanel Resort 2011

It is hard to believe, though, that in this current era of environmental awareness and increased assessment of waste in the fashion industry, that we continue to support and glamorize this overt demonstration of fashion excess. Resort clothing and accessories can surely be handpicked from chic designs that are available all year long and from warm weather favorites of the past year. The pressure that designers continually face in generating additional offerings for each resort cycle is undeniably impacting their ability to institute better (sustainable) production models from start to finish. If shoppers refused to partake in this phenomenon, retailers might be forced to reconsider the viability of resort wear essentials overall.

“Interim” collections no doubt confuse us as much as the weather does these days, so it only makes sense that stores would want to aid us on this front rather than cloud the issue with ill-timed floor displays. Perhaps the emphasis should increasingly be on eco travel destinations that celebrate looking fabulous in whatever gear it takes to comprehend the beauty of a region while also walking lightly on the beaches we all share?

Main Image: Jonathan Saunders Resort 2010