The key takeaways from the Cruise 2021 collections

Let's be clear, the resort (or cruise) collections have come a long way since they were first created in the 1920s. As the name suggests, they were mid-season clothing lines designed for the wealthy jet-setters heading out on cruises to warmer destinations in the winter.

Fast forward a few decades, and they still offer that wanderlust fashion, but to a broader audience of both men and women, albeit one that dresses in Gucci and Chanel for chic holidays.

However no one could have predicted that this season, due to a global pandemic, runway shows would happen with no audience whatsoever. No matter, design houses still delivered their Cruise 2021 collections, and here is the lowdown.

Dior celebrated la Dolce Vita

(Images by Teresa Cioca)

For the Cruise 2021 show, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented a collection behind closed doors in a magical show staged in Lecce, Italy. Celebrating the magical beauty of Italian arts and crafts, the show was illuminated by Marinella Senatore's Luminarie, and set to the rhythms of a cathartic dance by the La Notte della Taranta Foundation, choreographed by Sharon Eyal.

The collection itself was an ode to la Dolce Vita and the beauty of nature, with the artist Pietro Ruffo adorning dresses with a field under a constellation of wheat sheaves evoking a summer landscape, and dresses punctuated with flowers and butterflies in traditional embroidery, a nod to Puglia’s rich heritage.

Chanel's collection was an ode to Capri

Virginia Viard was meant to show her collection in Capri. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, this didn't happen. However, the designer still drew inspiration from the iconic Italian island for her sun-drenched collection aptly named 'Balade en Méditerranée' (a jaunt in the Mediterranean).

Monochrome Capri pants (get it?), chic monochrome separates including cropped jackets, bell-bottom jeans with retro floral inserts and colourful crop tops make for resortwear that is ideal for, well, a dreamy Italian getaway.

Burberry put the focus on its community

Burberry's Spring/Summer 2021 Pre-Collection, designed by Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci, is a celebration of the Burberry community, inspired by the outdoors and founder Thomas Burberry’s legacy of discovery.

Each look was shot on a member of the Burberry staff, shot outside their home, in England. The collection itself was inspired by the sense of connection and heritage, which translated into a new graffitied love print and some of the house's more iconic staples, from trench coats and barn jackets to pleated skirts and corset dresses.

Tisci said, 'This season, I wanted to draw upon the familiar, the things that bring us comfort and strength. I returned to what first inspired me in the Burberry heritage house codes, like the check, iconic stripes and unicorn emblems, but revisited them with a new perspective, incorporating elements of both sophistication and street through the lens of the outdoors.'

Gucci also celebrated its team

For his last physical runway show at Milan Fashion Week this past February, Alessandro Michele wanted to highlight the savoir faire of his team and celebrate their craftsmanship. The Cruise 2021 was the final instalment in this love story.

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He said in a statement about this Epilogue collection, ‘The start of this quest unfolded in February. On that occasion, I wanted to celebrate the magical ritual of the fashion show: a sacred and unrepeatable liturgy through which creative thinking goes public and offers itself to the interpretation of a community of emancipated spectators. […] The second act shaped during the advertising campaign in May, when I tried to create further disorientation inside the routing mechanisms of fashion.[…] Finally the epilogue comes, to seal the closure of a trilogy of love. This last movement goes around another short-circuit. The clothes will be worn by those who created them.’

Louis Vuitton played a game

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With the 2021 Cruise Collection, Nicolas Ghesquière payed homage to the deck of cards, the traveller's loyal companion, very apt considering the Cruise origins. The show notes explained, 'Game On, or creative freedom playing with canvas, mingling lines between the Monogram flowers and four suits of a card deck. In this fantasy of illusion, clubs bloom, spades pierce, diamonds sparkle, and the almighty heart reigns. The Monogram plays its ace on the House's most iconic accessories. It expresses a particular art of living that keeps the trunk-making heritage alive.[...] Game On is a lighthearted adventure in which all of the House's spheres of expertise play a role, driven by passionate craftsmanship, their winning card.'

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.