As brands untether themselves from the big four fashion capitals, we round up everything from Chanel in LA to Louis Vuitton in Seoul and Dior in Mexico
Wedged between the two main fashion seasons, the Cruise shows were created for a smattering of uber-rich clients needing a transitional wardrobe to accommodate their luxurious, mid-season holidays. Nowadays these offerings rival the scale and scope of a brand’s major seasonal collections, with fashion editors travelling the breadth of the planet as a mid-calendar interlude. There is always a fashion week somewhere, etc. Untethered from the four main fashion capitals, the cruise shows have become an opportunity for brands to spotlight artisans working in far-flung locations and it now seems as though the labels are locked into a ‘who can do it bigger and better’ contest – Kim Jones took to the Pyramids of Giza, Maria Grazia Chiuri to the Gateway of India, Alessandro Michele to a 13th-century castle in Apulia.
This time, Chanel is headed to LA and Dior to Mexico, while Louis Vuitton and Gucci set their sights on Seoul. Scroll down below to get the lowdown on the 2023 Cruise collections.
Earlier this week, Chanel staged a “One Night Only” spectacle at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. Margot Robbie watched from the front row – alongside Kristen Stewart, Riley Keough, and Marion Cotillard – as Virginie Viard presented a collection seemingly tailored for the actor’s Barbie press tour. There were pale pink skirt-suits, coral pinafores, magenta pantsuits, and fuchsia scuba tops stamped with interlocking Cs. The whole thing drew on classic LA tropes: roller skaters, weight lifters, and beach bunnies in 80s-inflected beach separates, while sunset degradés figured on denim shorts and lace mini dresses and Memphis-Milano prints. Though the collection felt a little more free-spirited than we’ve come to expect from Chanel – see the drop-waisted boho skirt and sequined leg warmers – it still closed with a spate of sophisticated evening wear in black, gold, and feather-trimmed jumpsuits.
When Nicolas Ghesquière announced that he would be staging a fashion show in conjunction with Hwang Dong-hyuk (the director of Squid Games) people joked that editors and influencers would be put through a sacrificial Red Light, Green Light contest. That didn’t happen, but HoYeon Jung did open the show – storming across Seoul’s Jamsugyo Bridge in a leather track jacket and military boots. Positioned as a conversation between Paris and Seoul, the collection ran the gamut of sports-striped windbreakers, quilted leather suits, checkerboard pants, crystal-encrusted boiler suits, and monogrammed swim tops. The presiding mood was one of combat: all trailing concho belts, motorcycle suits, slashed blazers, saddle skirts, and outsized hardware that left models looking like time-hopping warrior women.
Last week, Ice Spice attended the Pucci show in Florence and reintroduced herself as some kind of 60s bombshell. Styled by Dazed’s fashion director Imruh Asha, it was artistic director Camille Miceli’s first spectacle since taking the helm in 2021. A carousel of swirl-printed looks arrived on a boat and wound through the banks of the Arno River as Miceli paid homage to the emblem Emilio Pucci designed for the Apollo 15 astronauts in 1971. Everything had a space-age mood: silk dresses crackled in gold foil surfaces, caftans were given the gift of flight in feather-weight fabrications and a smattering of all-white looks called to mind traditional astronaut uniforms. For the finale, Miceli showed eight catsuits – piled in gold necklaces and body chains – that seemed to evoke the image of intergalactic explorers in classic, camp cinema.
Just a few days after fashion’s South Korea pitstop, when Gucci took over a storied Seoul palace and flew A$AP Rocky in for a mega-intimate afterparty performance, editors were whisked in the direction of Mexico City. There, Maria Grazia Chiuri and the Dior team laid in wait, as they got set to debut their own Cruise collection in the country’s thrumming capital. Kicking off on Saturday night, the show was backdropped by an unforeseen wild lighting storm, with models expertly pacing a slippery catwalk while being pelted with rain. The collection itself was yet another example of Chiuri’s commitment to spotlighting female artists and artisans across the globe, as has been her raison d’etre while steering the house Christian built.
In this instance, the designer looked to Frida Kahlo, presenting a simple, pared-back collection made up of the kind of mannish tailored suiting, and colourful traditional sundresses the legendary Mexican artist herself favoured, alongside a succession of white cotton gowns with boned bodices and full skirts bearing blood-red, hand-embroidered iterations of the beating hearts and birds seen throughout her work. Finishing touches came via traditional straw hats and gold necklaces strung with gilt butterflies. Inspired by a recent exhibition dedicated to Kahlo at the Paris Galleria, it was an opportunity for Chiuri to link-up with local artisans and stop cultural appreciation veering into appropriation territory. With Mumbai and Mexico under her belt in recent months, only question that remains is: where next?
Dua Lipa was crowned a Versace muse the moment she licked her lips on Donatella’s SS22 runway. Assumed with the audacious spirit of the Medusa, the pop star’s patronage of Versace has since comprised tour looks and red-carpet looks and just about everything else – but their collaboration reached an apotheosis this week when Dua co-designed an entire collection with Donatella. Inspired by hot, hot summers and hot, hot evenings in places like Saint Tropez, the collection ran the gamut of flirty LBDs, towelling mini dresses, and faux-leather bodysuits. “Digging through the archives we discovered we were drawn to a lot of the same references which was such an inspiring and fulfilling process,” Dua said. Trips to the Versace archive gave way to butterflies and ladybirds, which were something of a reigning motif, appearing on cropped bombers, strappy stilettos, and hulking gold jewellery. There’s always an occasion to wear Versace, and I know I’ll be spending my days (and nights!) in La Vacanza all summer long.”
Across recent seasons, Nicolas Ghesquière has committed himself to bending the tenets of space and time – producing collections that scramble historical eras, scale, and proportion – but even he was not capable of controlling the torrential rainstorm that fell onto Louis Vuitton’s Resort venue. Marooned on a private island in Lake Maggiore, Ghesquière had imagined this season’s models as mermaids that shapeshift into flowers. Or, as he put it, “drifting creatures that abandon aquatic dwellings for the discovery of terrestrial wonders”. Finned scuba jackets became couture-level capes, scale-like sequined skirts became Rococo robes, while hand-painted oceanic prints transformed into floral jacquards. Tensions between the ordinary and the extraordinary were further explored in workaday cashmere sweaters and old-school gym shorts, which rankled against mammoth rose-bud skirts and overblown organza gowns.