As someone who likes to think they have their finger firmly on the pulse, I have been thrown off track by a rogue email. At 6.45 yesterday morning, Vogue’s online database swung into action and sent its millions of dedicated fans a Trend update. Having fully immersed myself in this season’s shows back in September and October 2009, I assumed this was old news. Email recycling. That was until I noticed the date for this particular email claimed that the latest and greatest fashion trends were shown on 11th June 2010. How on earth was this possible?
We’ve all heard of Resort Wear – collections to fill in that summer gap – but I had never taken them seriously as they are more often than not produced by the students of the house rather than the grandes dames; a sales gimmick and press exercise. However, to have Vogue claiming that ‘direct from Milan the summer has landed’ shook me. I have since delved deeper and found the collections not to be entirely lacking. The big names typically produce high-priced merchandise for this little niche market, but the shows tend to be devoid of the full-scale glamour of Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter’s sensory experience.
Originally conceived to provide wardrobe pieces for your holiday, this American sounding creation actually has roots that go back to the 60s. Also cringefully known as ‘cruise wear’, these collections were created to appeal to those who wanted to appear to be going on exotic holidays, when more often than not they were staying at home.
Now, however, it seems that they are test beds for ideas and viable sales machines. For example, Versace has been able to presell 70% of this season’s resort wear before it hit the runway and Donatella claims that it gives them the opportunity to create clothes that are more ‘real’ and ultimately more accessible. “The customer feels more comfortable with this collection,” says Versace, who presented 24 resort looks to the press and buyers in New York. “There’s an easiness that is hard to do on the runway because the expectations are so much higher for fashion shows.”