Resort Wear - A Fashion Designer's Last Resort?

by Kristin Marino
Fashion School Review Columnist

November 24, 2006

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The term "resort wear" harkens back to a time when the jet-setting rich and famous needed some high fashion clothing for their tropical winter vacations. While the hoi palloi trudged through the dark and dreary months of January and February, beautiful people frolicked on faraway and exotic beaches. Also known as cruise wear, a fashion designer's resort wear collection used to consist mostly of bathing suits and nautical themed warm weather wear. Like the seasons, times change.

Only recently have fashion design experts and professionals taken resort collections seriously, including designers, buyers, and fashion merchandising gurus. Fashion designers that have designed 2006 resort collections include: Oscar de la Renta, John Galliano, Valentino, Vera Wang, Louis Vuitton, and the all-mighty Gucci.

Clothing designer Donna Karan has taken a fresh approach to "resort dressing." After all, not all of the beautiful people go to warmer climates during the holidays. Some go on ski trips to Switzerland and Vermont, too. Fashion merchandising professional have noted that clothing customers demand cold weather fashions not only for the slopes, but for hanging out in the lodge afterwards. Karan's resort collection features not only bikinis, but parkas and snow pants as well.

Fashion design powerhouse Ralph Lauren refers to the resort season as "prespring." A combination of the clothing he showed in the fall and a taste of what he'll show in the spring. While he might include a few beach pieces, much of his resort collection are designed to be used for layering as the weather changes from winter to spring.

Fashion designer Calvin Klein has changed his resort collection's focus from softer and lighter pieces to tailored suits and boxy shift dresses with an upscale, urban feel. He relies on tropical weight wool and lightweight cashmere for several of his pieces. He uses pale pastel colors like mint green, sky blue, and peach. Klein's pieces are versatile - they can be worn in Palm Desert or Palm Beach, but they can also be worn to work...which is where many of us will be during the winter months.

About the Author
Kristin Marino is obsessed with haute couture, even though she lives in Reno, Nevada, where you can't even get Gucci or Louis Vuitton, let alone Jimmy Choo. She has a Bachelor of Art in English Composition from the University of Nevada.

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