Resort collections arrive in stores from late October to late November, when much of the country is bundled up but those of us here in Southern California are still enjoying 70-degree days.
First introduced in the 1940s, resort, also called cruise or pre-spring, was a niche created to clothe jet-setters heading to warmer climes for the winter. But today's retail market is so hyperactive that designers must create more clothes to satisfy consumers' insatiable appetite for new items. Resort fashion shows in particular have grown in importance, taking place in exotic locales with top-tier clients as invited guests. This May, Chanel held a resort runway extravaganza in Dubai, and Louis Vuitton had one in Monte Carlo during the Cannes Film Festival.
Resort collections, with their escapist allure, are easy to wear and accessible. And the best part is that in L.A., we don't have to travel anywhere to wear them. We already live in paradise.
Relaxed silhouettes, faded colors, nautical stripes, and delicate floral and palm tree embroidery stood out among this season's resort offerings.
At Gucci, designer Frida Giannini collaborated with artist Kris Knight to re-imagine the blossoms of the house's iconic 1966 Flora print in a dark, mysterious way. Far from being too serious, though, the new pattern is splashed across casual Bermuda shorts, pea coats and sundresses or paired with distressed denim and striped boat-neck cashmere sweaters.
Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli also took an artistic turn, channeling the free spirit of artist Frida Kahlo in romantic peasant skirts and blouses with parrot and flower embroidery, rainbow stripes or lace.
Stella McCartney created a playful statement with bird, blossom and childlike superhero motifs. And Burberry's Christopher Bailey used dip-dye techniques on drapey silk polo shirts and skirts shown on the runway with soft, safari-inspired tailoring.
Perhaps no collection epitomizes resort's sense of ease like Baja East, the unisex line of boho-patterned boxing pants and shorts, cashmere tops and tunics that co-designers Scott Studenberg and John Targon call "loose luxe."
Among the biggest news for shoppers this season is that Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez are now in the swim with their first collection of bikinis and one-pieces featuring signature hardware, bra-top details and prints from ready-to-wear.
And, as part of Band of Outsiders' first footwear collection, L.A.'s Scott Sternberg has created the resort season's must-have fashion comfort shoe, the loafer pool slide. Because lounging, after all, is serious business.