bal harbour blog

The Cruise Competition

Fashion News
Models at the Chanel Cruise Collection in Havana.

By Jessica Michault

It’s all about the experience. In today’s fast paced fashion world, a bit of a malaise has taken over the industry when it comes to the ready-to-wear shows and haute couture presentations. A sort of “been there, done that” sentiment for those VIP luxury customers and top tier fashion editors who have made the rounds and know the fashion weeks routine like the back of their hand.

So to keep the tastemakers and their devoted clientele happy, brands have turned to their cruise shows to find new ways to awe their audience. This means taking the lucky few to far flung fashion venues, in picturesque and usually private (or at the very least exclusive) locations.

Selling designer clothing nowadays isn’t just about an “it bag" or a “must have” item. Instead, it’s the unforgettable memories of a fashion happening. So over the past 30 days four of the world's leading fashion houses pulled out all the stops to make their cruise show an event for the ages.

It started with the Chanel cruise 2017 show in Cuba on May 3rd, traveled to Brazil for Louis Vuitton and then hit the United Kingdom with both Dior at Blenheim Palace, and Gucci at Westminster Abbey. For Gucci the big “get” was being able to show in the hallowed halls of Westminster Abbey--where British royal weddings and coronations have taken place for hundreds of years. Gucci now holds the auspicious honor of being the first luxury house to ever present a fashion collection within its walls. And considering designer Alessandro Michele’s romantic aesthetic, the venue was a perfect fit for the house.

Chanel won the prize for best location. Snapping up Havana, Cuba just after it had reestablished relations with the United States for its cruise show was a serious coup. The fashion world was clamoring to make it onto the guest list for the show, which was generally seen as a defining fashion moment. Watching all the guests arrive in colorful vintage 1950 convertibles at the outdoor runway also made for great Instagram fodder.

Louis Vuitton had a bit of bad luck with an outbreak of the Zika virus hitting Brazil before its show was to get underway there. But in terms of visual impact across social media platforms, it came out ahead. The images of designer Nicolas Ghesquière’s futuristic and colorful outfits set off against the backdrop of architect Oscar Niemeyer’s breathtaking Niterói Contemporary Art Museum will not soon be forgotten.

As for Dior, the brand made points by combining an enchanting retro style train ride to the show’s venue with a beautiful on site presentation of vintage Dior designs that acted as a framework and gave a richer context to the cruise collection that was unveiled. The event might have been lacking a bit in the wow factor, but as the house is still in search of a new creative director, that is almost to be expected.

But in the end each of these four fashion houses produced cruise collections that were unmitigated successes. They all made those in attendance feel special, drummed up even more global awareness for their labels and left the rest of the world wanting to be a part of the fashion moment, even if that means only being able to buy a piece from such unforgettable shows.


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