Monte Carlo. Palm Springs. Capri. Los Angeles. Arles. Marrakech. Disparate destinations with a distinct draw. Beyond holidaymakers, fashion brands are increasingly flocking to far-flung destinations in every corner of the globe to showcase resort collections. From Chanel to YSL and Gucci to Pucci, the curious case of the pre-season catwalk show is taking off as huge spectacles, glamorous after-parties, and star-studded front rows dominate our social media feeds.
The resort wear craze is set to blossom this year with the ballooning swimwear market expected to reach $22.1 billion in 2022, according to Euromonitor. The phenomenon’s humble beginnings started as most things do in luxury fashion: catering to the cosmopolitan lives of the uber-rich with a collection of light, bright summer clothes dropping in the winter for those who abandon chilly cities in favour of sunny milieus. It’s more plausible than you think.
Louis Vuitton 2023 cruise collection at Louis Kahn's Salk Institute
"ThE SwIMWeAR mARkET Is ExPEcTEd To REaCH $22.1 bILLiON In 2022"
In 1919, Gabrielle Chanel became one of the first to launch an iteration of resort as we know it, presenting a clothing capsule for clients entirely out of season. The fearsomely inventive Karl Lagerfeld followed suit in 1983, offering the gilded jet set of Europe their winter sun wardrobe.
With the advent of social media, staging a resort presentation became an added opportunity for brands to command the attention of audiences during the off-season. Moreover, cities like Shanghai, Dubai, and Rio de Janeiro are home to a smattering of high-profile wealthy clientele.
Chanel Resort 2023
"StAGInG a ReSORt PrESEnTATIoN BeCAmE An AddED oPPOrTUnITY fOR bRANdS tO CoMMAnD ThE AttENTiON oF AuDIENcES"
Gucci Resort 2023
These shows are more exclusive with press offices ferrying a small cohort of valuable VIPs, press, and influencers, to vaunted locales and iconic locations like the Miho Museum, an I.M. Pei-designed architectural masterpiece in Kyoto, Japan (Louis Vuitton) to the Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, Italy (Dior), or one of Lagerfeld’s extravaganzas in the then recently reopened Havana, Cuba.
However, as our tastes have developed toward the cleaner and more conscious, the resort show contradicts the generational desire to incorporate more sustainability into our lives. Jetting off to distant locales for a few days that revolve around an ephemeral experience — despite the immersive accoutrements that accompany the lynchpin fashion show — poses a stark contrast to the fashion industry’s newly adopted environmentally friendly proclivities.
Gucci, the Italian juggernaut, switched tricks during the pandemic, vowing to show only twice a year in order to condense and concisely convey its vision. This past May, the brand reversed its decision, landing in Apulia for resort 2023. Undoubtedly, with resort and resort wear being such a boon for business, the display is another opportunity for the luxury mega-brand to woo its clientele and observant press with fashion and freebies. It comes as the category, often lower-priced than the brand’s mainlines, becomes a key driver in product lines.
Being a key driver and category within the fashion sphere does not detract, however, from the plethora of new brands carving out a more sustainable niche for themselves. One such designer is resort wear aficionado Adriana Degreas, the Brazilian designer with an aptitude for transportive threads like metallic bikini sets decorated with feathers, sumptuous silky scalloped robes in ochre, and sheer skirts with painterly brushstrokes that leave you yearning for dancing into the early hours of the morning on Ipanema. In terms of sustainability, the brand follows several practices to solidify their stance on the matter, including reducing the use of water and chemicals by favouring digital prints.
There’s Christopher Esber, an Australian with a penchant for expertly tailored and effortlessly minimal dresses and separates with the casual sex appeal of relaxed menswear — think evening dresses inspired by tank tops with flesh-bearing torso cutouts.
Italian Jezebel Cormio is more than a one to watch but a veritable star on the rise with a unique ability to give playful 1990s-inspired knitwear a coquettish flair. Renowned for their intricate knits and crochet, craftsmanship is almost second to their intuitive use of colour.
So why are we so particularly drawn to resort wear right now? It’s simple really: the desire to escape from the humdrum of our daily lives is a more precious activity than ever before thanks to the pandemic highlighting the fragility of freedom of travel. With that in mind, the irresistible urge to indulge in something new like Maygel Coronel swimwear and Cult Gaia platforms as luggage is dusted off and the promise of days lounging by the pool lingers. Passports at the ready. Destination: resort.
pAUl'S PIcKS Of ThE MoNtH
Mercedes Crochet Dress
Consider the sultry flair of this crochet dress for summer nights spent dancing into the early hours of the morning.
Retro's Xl Sunglasses
UV protection should be done in style and these glasses do just that with their dazzling pink tint and unique structure.
Reixa Vinyl Sandals
Summer is all about sensible shoes but they shouldn’t sacrifice sartorial endeavours. Pick these colourful Hereu sandals.
MY BEACHY SIDE
Marin Macro Flap Bag
Your beach bag says a lot about you and practicality should be front and centre which is why the ample proportions of this choice from My Beachy Side is a holiday essential.
Hand Painted Flama Waved Hat
This reversible sun hat from Spanish brand Romualda is the right amount of fun for frolicking in the sand.