The Race to Destination “Cruise 2018” Runway Presentations Heats Up

It’s 2017 and the continuing insistence by some brands to make “Resort collection” season into major event “Cruise” Runway shows is still a thing.

There was a time in the Fashion business when there were two major happenings a year for most brands: Spring 2017 and Fall 2017. If you were a very elite brand you got four. The previously mentioned, and a second “couture” collection per season.

Then there were the two “non-event” parts of the year, the “Pre-Fall” and the “Resort”. These were rarely presented as runway shows. Instead, photographs of the looks were distributed to the press, of far more commercialized versions of the Runway lines. These were the Fashion House “bread and butter” lines, as it were. The ones that sat in stores for the longest parts of the year, and sold to people who do not have the time or money to look like they stepped off a runway when they head out of the house.

The internet has brought many changes to the fashion industry over the last decade. Some are good–like the opening up of the once-insular industry to the masses. Some are still being determined, like the ability to buy looks directly off the runway via the internet, months before they would traditionally turn up in stores. (There’s a reason the “Fall” looks are shown in February. They’re not to be worn in February. They’re to be brought later that summer, when the Fashion House has churned out enough of the looks to sell, and worn that Fall.)

And then there’s the push to take these “lesser collections” of Resort and PreFall and turn them into events on par with the Spring and Fall Fashion Weeks. This seems like a bad idea, for many reasons. If the internet’s push into the Fashion Industry has forced them to become more egalitarian, including the push back against the racist and sizeist notions that have ruled it for lo so many years, this serves to stratify the business into “those who can afford” and “those who can’t.”

Take for example today’s announcement about Gucci, one of the highest of the high end lines. Like many very high end brands, it has joined the movement to rebrand “Resort” to the more fancy sounding “Cruise” collection. Today they announce said collection will not just be a runway presentation–but one held in Florence, Italy, on May 29th.

“Staging the next cruise collection show in the heart of Florence has special meaning, particularly as Alessandro is constantly inspired by the city’s renaissance masterpieces,” said Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci, in an official statement.

That’s all very well and good, and I’m sure the images from the show will be to die for, even if the clothes aren’t anything to write home about. The Fashion Press will all enjoy the trip. But this is not a level where the mid-level Fashion Houses can compete. Christian Siriano, for instance, is not even close to the stage where he could afford to do any such thing. Instead those mid-level houses, which once had a three-month window to lazily roll out their photographed looks over the course of the summer, will now all rush to get their Resort 2018 photos out, all in the first week of June, in hopes of garnering any notice whatsoever in the wake of other major brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren, who will in short order be announcing where in the world their “Cruise” collections will be presented.

Perhaps the major houses, which have been pushing to make Cruise happen now for several years, will finally succeed. But it won’t be for the best if it does.

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