Luxury Fashion On The Resurgence of Vacation Dressing: Travel Capsules
The fashion industry’s growing focus on resort-wear and vacation dressing reaches an all time high as luxury fashion brands release travel capsule collections to cater to the consumer’s vacation state of mind.
By Aurelli Lazuardi
As our world keeps changing around us, so does the fashion calendar. For decades, the traditional seasonal calendar has served the industry well. Designers put their Spring Summer collections on the catwalk in September, and then showcase an Autumn Winter drop six months later, but those days are long gone. A much-needed reset of the fashion industry is something that has been highlighted during the past few years. And whilst we have previously discussed the jump to virtual fashion and the effects on traditions like street style, it seems that another tradition of the industry has come under scrutiny — the outdated fashion seasons.
Despite being motivated by creativity, the fashion industry is rather traditional in terms of business. As a result, it was considered inventive when particular designers began breaching the norms and showcasing their range between the two established seasons. These were known as pre-collections and were often the ready-to-wear selection for a designer before the debut of the more exclusive items.
Once the concept was shown to work, everyone came on board, so much so that the fashion season now consists of four main units: Pre-Spring, Spring Summer, Pre-Fall, and Fall Winter; with brands finding the opportunity to highlight and organise pieces from the two pre-collections into themed wardrobes called “capsule collections”.
How Fashion is Targeting the Travel Rebound
Dating back more than 100 years, early Cruise or Resort collections were just that — special capsules produced by designers and released between the main collections to cater to wealthy customers that travel. However, as the cost of international travel fell, middle and upper-middle classes began taking trips of their own and these niche lines not only became more popular amongst consumers but also allowed fashion houses huge commercial benefits.
“You don’t relate to seasons, you don’t relate to fashion shows, you relate to a spirit of mind.” said luxury correspondent Tamison O’Connor “It’s really attractive for the true luxury customer who sees these items as a fun way to accessorise a holiday, but it’s also an entry point for more aspirational and younger consumers,” she continues.
After a year of cancelled trips and staying home, travelling and vacation dressing is witnessing a resurgence like no other. Consumers are looking for clothing to enhance their travel experience and set a vacation state of mind. “What we’ve been hearing from our customers is that she’s thinking of getting away this summer and is eager to buy beachwear and getaway clothes that are fashionable and fun,” emphasised Anu Narayanan, the chief merchandising officer of Anthropologie.
A current holiday wardrobe is no longer solely consisting of swimwear and a cover-up, but encompasses a head-to-toe ensemble. What’s more, shoppers are looking to resortwear that can tell a story — about a brand, a place, or its creator. For example, Jacquemus’ 23-piece capsule collection for Spring 2023 was a tribute to the Sun & Sea art installation by Rugile Barzdziukaite, Vaiva Grainythe and Lina Lapelyte and the work of photographer Massimo Vitali. The beach-themed collection was exclusively released in partnership with Net-A-porter and included summer staples of well-loved Jacquemus designs rendered in his signature, soft-coloured colorways. With cropped linen-blend tops and mint green bucket hats, they picked up on opportunities to engage consumers by building a buzz with the release while staying relevant and affordable with younger consumers.
Jacquemus isn’t the only luxury player betting big on vacation dressing. On March 2022, Dior have teamed up with “Parley for the Oceans” to unveil the new season of its “Beachwear Capsule” line. Dior’s mission for the house is to become more eco-innovative and sustainable, and with Parley’s stance against major ocean threats, the two brands have created a collection that comprises a colour palette of blue packable jackets and ochre poplin pants, with some items carrying the “Dior Oblique” pattern, incorporating Parley Ocean Plastic created from up-cycled marine plastic debris and recovered fishing gear. Not only did they capitalise on the current trend of vacation dressing, but they’ve managed to leverage its roots as a label for fashionable, eco-conscious jet-setters, just in time for a post-pandemic vacation surge.
Altogether, this means that as demand for the evolving resort category grows, it is critical for brands and designers to adjust their assortments in order to cater to consumers’ new expectations of the category. To that end, brands have designed collections that extend beyond beachwear and summery themed collections.
“There’s pent up demand,” said chief executive of Mytheresa, Michael Kliger. “It’s just much more than beach and swimwear. It’s catering to consumers all-year round.”
The Diverse Range of Vacation-Themed Capsules
With winter holidays becoming a more common occurrence, it seems obvious for fashion houses to cater to colder-climate vacations. During the 2000s, brands realised the opportunity to sell garments all-year round, thus Luxury ski-wear was born. Luxury fashion houses such as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Prada started designing more winter capsules specifically for ski vacations. It continues today as the rise of social media sees more influencers and celebrities flaunt their holiday outfits. Throughout the 2010s, the Kardashian-Jenner family posted pictures of them skiing on their social media accounts and in the 2020s, models like the Hadid sisters influenced people to buy and wear luxury ski gear.
In present time, Fendi recently released their new Winter Sports capsule collection, featuring sustainable tech-wear along with bags and winter accessories. Winter hues like cold grey, white, baby and ice blue were strewn across the highly technical wardrobe, strongly linking back to the aesthetics of the Roman fashion house.
Similarly, hiking-themed capsule collections have emerged from mega fashion houses like Loewe. Taking on the great outdoor adventure, they’ve collaborated with performance brand On for a limited-edition capsule collection housing shoes and apparel for the modern adventurer. Focusing on craftsmanship, they reimagined long-established craft skills, applying the handmade to technical pieces. The ready-to-wear pieces sport a unique blend of performance properties and fashionable design aspects. Perfect for the individual who seek a holiday centered around the outdoors.
All in all, vacation dressing has become significant to brands. The increase in consumer demand for destination wear is fuelled by the enticing idea of holidays as an escape from routine and a chance to have new experiences. Shoppers are constantly on the look out for outfits that enhance their travel experience, and with this new trend of vacation-themed capsule collections, brands are able to showcase their creativity in design while selling their garments all-year round. It is no doubt that in time, holiday capsules are going to come back bigger than ever.