More than just clothes for a summer holiday, Cruise collections are becoming a vital segment of the fashion world.

Versace Cruise 2023


“Cruise,” “Resort,” “Pre-Spring” or “Holiday” refer to collections that debut after the sale of Fall/Winter items and before Spring/Summer items hit the shelves. “Cruise” as its name implies, caters to bon-vivant jet-setters traveling during the cold weather months and living their best vacation lives – its archetypal customer “understands dressing for the season and is well travelled,” as Vogue UK once put it.

The first Cruise collection dates back to 1919, when Coco Chanel premiered an out-of-season collection in Paris. However, it truly began to emerge as a form in 1983, when CHANEL’s Karl Lagerfeld expanded Cruise into a full-fledged collection inspired by his trips. Throughout the 1980s, Cruise occupied boutique aisles from November to July of the following year, accompanying well-heeled ladies on their winter escapes to warmer regions as well as their 3-month-long summer vacations on faraway islands.

DIOR Resort 2018

Along the way, Cruise collections turned into a substantial source of revenue for CHANEL and other fashion houses. Cruise has helped shape the shopping habits of customers worldwide, becoming one of the factors that ushered casualwear into the realm of high fashion.


Neither the target demographics nor the purpose of Cruise has fundamentally changed over the years. These collections consistently debut alongside the latest Spring/Summer creations and remain on store shelves much longer than any seasonal designs while maintaining a high price.

Cruise fashion draws paying customers since it satisfies the demand for light and comfortable wear. Plus, pre-holiday or pre-vacation shopping expeditions can hype anyone up.

CHANEL Cruise 2018 campaign

Buyers will undoubtedly purchase lavish designs from the Spring/Summer catwalks, but how many are willing to pay for an intricate and possibly uncomfortable vacation dress? As a result, the Cruise season has become incredibly important for high-end retail businesses since popular fashion items such as T-shirts, shorts and shoulder bags have always yielded high profits.


Although Cruise collections primarily feature summer items, they don’t only restrict themselves to tropical regions. The Row’s 2024 Cruise collection, for example, features blazers, blanket scarves, turtleneck sweaters, leather gloves and ponchos. Fashion houses assure clients that they can produce a wide range of items for wearers in a variety of geographical locations and climates – not everyone will go on a winter escape or choose tropical islands for their vacations. Cruise collections feature versatile designs that can be worn in various conditions: hot, cold, or on days with capricious weather.

“Collections are more seasonless than ever, as brands take more of a considered approach to the longevity of a collection,” Rebecca Tinker, a fashion buyer at high-end retailer Selfridges, told Harper’s Bazaar. “This is strongly resonating with our customers who seek pieces that they can keep in their wardrobe longer than a season.”

Jil Sander Cruise 2022

Such long-lasting pieces are made of premium fabrics and feature high-grade techniques, both of which top fashion houses can afford. Secondly, they can be worn in any weather and with any style. For example, a form-fitting T-shirt made of high-grade polyester blends is wrinkle-free, moisture-absorbing, light in the summer, and retains heat very well in the winter. Designers who are not forced to place an emphasis on seasonality can also disregard notions of time and trends.

As a result, most fashion houses are completely going all-out on the Cruise race in a bid to satisfy customers all around the world. The bridging of seasonal gaps has enabled these brands to better address the needs of all potential customers.

Gucci Cruise 2020

The notion of “non-seasonality” has compelled the fashion industry to shift from emphasizing quantity with multiple runway shows year-round to focusing on quality, where a single collection can meet most customers’ demands. Cruise is emerging as a means for fashion houses to change their marketing strategies, which have traditionally depended on two recurrent seasons. At the same time, high profits have made designers more ambitious with each subsequent Cruise collection. And while Cruise still retains its jet-setting roots, the collections have expanded their range beyond the realm of yachts on the Mediterranean and sunsets in Santorini.