Are Resort Shows More Spectacle Than Fashion?

The Chanel and Dior Resort (or Cruise, whichever you prefer) 2018 shows were Instagram fodder, to say the least. Dior’s show was held in Calabasas, otherwise known as Kardashian land. Giant hot air balloons stamped with ‘Dior Sauvage’ dotted the landscape, and large tents covered the attendees. A golden sunset set the mood. So, what about the clothes?

With so many distractions, the clothes, though they weren’t bad, took on less importance. And that’s the problem. This mystical Western Georgia O’Keeffe collection was one of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s better ones, heck, I’d even say one of her best. Nevertheless, all the thought and effort that went into it was overshadowed by some hot air balloons.

What happens if the clothes aren’t up to snuff? Is simply having a celebrity-filled, beautifully-decorated spectacle enough?

Chanel has grappled with these questions for more Resort seasons than I can count. This time, faux ancient Greek ruins (in Paris!) set the scene for shapeless tweed togas and bathing suits that looked like 2014 Dolce & Gabbana. Those weren’t the only things reminiscent of early D&G, however. The tall strappy Greek sandals with column heels looked so much like a pair that graced Dolce & Gabbana’s 2014 runway that Steffano Gabbana himself posted a side by side comparison of the two on his Instagram.

No amount of olive trees or Chanel branded rocket ships will change the fact that all Chanel clothes look the same. Tweed skirt suits can only be reinvented so many times. Whether you call this classic or boring is up to you, but in order to judge the clothes, you have to be able to really see them and take it in.

Maybe these houses are afraid of that. If the focus is just on the clothes, all the criticism, publicity, and praise will be about them, too. But why is that scary? In the end, the customers are buying the clothes, not the set, the hot air balloons, or the exotic location.

Using the hot air balloon budget to use better fabrics or detailing (or, dare I say, paying those seamstresses a little more) would still give the fashion houses what they really want- an aura of luxury. Priorities in a business based on fantasy and aspiration can be skewed, but should Instagrammablity go before craftsmanship and design?

Tell me what you think in the comments.




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