Cruise '18: Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton

Once unveiled relatively quietly between a brand’s main autumn and spring collections, trans-seasonal cruise or resort wear is now commanding greater attention on the fashion stage. The increasing appeal of these often less directional looks prompted an industry rethink in terms of their prominence in the calendar, resulting in specially staged shows in exotic locations becoming the new norm.

This year has been no exception, and the choice of location is now also increasingly being reflected in the clothes. Many of the latest collections have been directly influenced, in some cases some would say rather literally, by their surroundings, and even when shown at home, runway looks take on a decidedly country-inspired theme.

Here's our roundup of three of Cruise season's most anticipated collections...

Cruise 18


After taking us on a futuristic sartorial journey back in March with his space-themed AW17 collection, creative director Karl Lagerfeld transported showgoers to times past this month for the launch of Chanel Cruise 2018.

Gone were the life-size rocket ship and stark space station-designed set, and in their place a Greek island, complete with crumbling columns, cracked flagstones and even an ancient olive tree.

In a celebration of Hellenic style, models paraded the ancient ruins dressed in toga-inspired silhouettes and classic sheath-style dresses, adorned with gilded laurel wreaths, gold coins and jewelled arm cuffs. However, entitled ‘The Modernity of Antiquity’, the collection also had one foot firmly in the here and now, with airy culottes, transparent cover-ups and slouchy sweatshirts peppering the Resort runway.

There were also plenty of Chanel signatures to satisfy the label’s traditionalists, including classic tweeds and chain-handled bags, as well as elements of Lagerfeld whimsy in the form of strappy column-heeled shoes.

cruise 18

Christian Dior

Staged open-air in the Santa Monica Mountains, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first Cruise collection since becoming the creative director of Christian Dior was a lesson in Western-inspired chic.

The remote Californian location, chosen before Maria Grazia joined the French fashion house, provided the ideal backdrop for the designer’s “wild and ancient” themed show, which saw her favored blazers and floor-sweeping tulle skirts, as well as trademark Dior silhouettes, injected with a prairie-like spirit.   

The blue hue that dominated Dior’s AW17 collection was replaced with dusty desert tones, accented with flashes of burnt orange and several strictly monochrome looks. There was also a return to pattern and print, with patchwork, blanket-style checks and herds of wild horses riffing on the collection’s theme.  

A magical element was also woven into the show, inspired by Maria Grazia’s visits to the Brooklyn Museum’s Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition, and in particular the artist’s collaboration with Vicki Noble, the creator of the feminist tarot card deck. Femininity and feminism have been central to the designer’s work since she took the helm at Dior, and Noble’s tarot illustrations featured on several of the collection’s pieces.

cruise 18

Louis Vuitton

Known for hosting his Cruise shows in some spectacular global spots, Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière didn’t disappoint this week when his latest collection was unveiled in front of Japan’s Miho Museum.

The I.M. Pei designed building, an hour’s drive from Kyoto, provided a suitably dramatic backdrop for the designer’s Japanese-themed show, which saw both classic and contemporary country references dominate the runway.

Obi-style belts and Samuri armour-inspired tunics were among the elements that nodded to Japan’s past, while the girl-gang bikers of the Japanese “Stray Cat Rock” films of the 1970s provided the more modern-day inspiration for the leather clad looks.  

Nicolas Ghesquière also collaborated with Kansai Yamamoto on the collection, the Japanese designer perhaps best known for creating some of David Bowie’s most extravagant clothes, and his colorful illustrations were featured on thigh-skimming sequinned dresses and decorated many of the brand’s bags.

But perhaps most notably, and unsurprisingly, it was the tailoring that defined the collection. Shrunken, boyish-style shapes contrasted with almost cocoon-like silhouettes featuring heavily rounded shoulders, the focus on structure offset by clever texture combinations or by pairing pieces with flyaway-hemmed shirts or skirts.