Collections that provide the bulk of department stores’ designer clothes are on the catwalks this week
Imogen Fox, deputy fashion editor
Friday 18 June 2010 15
The term may indeed conjure up images of floaty 70s kaftans, but the so-called “resort collections” that have been shown in New York this week no longer have anything to do with the thousand-dollar wardrobes of bored socialites. Instead, resort collections are rapidly growing in influence and popularity.
Originally conceived as an extra holiday collection for those who wintered in the sun, resort collections now provide the lion’s share of designer clothes that will end up on sale in British department stores. In fact, Selfridges estimates that between 65% and 70% of the department store’s designer clothes come from resort and pre-collections rather than the twice yearly, more theatrical collections that are shown on the major catwalks.
Anita Barr, womenswear buying director at Selfridges, acknowledges just how important the resort collections are commercially. “It is really vital to give constant newness for the customer, that there is something to fill the shop after the sale finishes,” she said. Indeed, resort is the longest selling season where the clothes are sold at full price before they are marked down, a fact that goes some way to explaining its growing popularity with designers seeking to maximise profits.
For consumers, the appeal of resort is obvious. If the major catwalk season focuses largely on spectacle and creativity, then the resort collections focus on the more wearable straightforward side of designer fashion. “Resort works best when it provides clothes that you can buy and wear immediately,” said Barr. Unlike the timing of the main collections – which often result in a situation whereby heavy cashmere coats are delivered to the shop floor at the height of summer – resort collections can usually be worn in the season when they actually go on sale.
At the resort shows in New York the schedule was its fullest ever, with several European fashion houses also present, including Stella McCartney and the hugely influential French label Celine.
McCartney based her collection on the optimism of early spring. Short sharply tailored dresses featured botanical prints, sharp feminine trouser suits were in white and tea rose, and lace cocktail dresses in French blue.
Elsewhere the trend for a cleaner colour palette was much in evidence with a ladylike silhouette proving key for next season. At Celine, designed by the British designer Phoebe Philo – arguably the most influential women in fashion at the moment – the emphasis was on wide-legged trousers, matching tunics and sporty minimalism.
Resort also revealed a further proliferation of the Celine effect. The label’s clean aesthetic, which is rapidly infiltrating fashion from the catwalk to the high street, looks set to last for a while yet.