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Set your fashion speed to cruise control

Resort or cruise wear is all about escaping in style. This relaxed yet chic look bridges the gap between airy spring/summer style and heavy winter wear.

Most of India has just two seasons - hot and wet. Only the north has a clear division of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Fashion-wise, you can split the calendar into four seasons - spring/summer, pre-fall, fall and cruise/resort, the last being the season that excites me the most.

Cruise/resort clothes are all about escaping in style. Coco Chanel is probably the designer who should be credited for the concept of cruise. The designer who popularized suntan realised that many of her clients escaped the winter cold by taking a cruise or going to a resort. For these privileged clients, she designed a capsule collection of holiday wear. Today, cruise is a full-fledged season. The designs enter the stores in November and remain till June. Till date, Chanel Cruise shows are among the hottest and every year Chanel's design director chooses a different destination for the show - New York's Grand Central Station, a luxurious swimming pool in Miami, Venice's Lido Beach or as it was this year, the Palace of Versailles. Karl Lagerfeld's silhouettes were that of Marie Antoinette gone punk with denims meeting ruffles. The underlying sense of femininity is something that all cruise collections have this season.

For someone like me who enjoys sale shopping, cruise/resort collections could not be better timed. December is when resort wear hits the shelves, but it is also the busiest time of year both at work and on the social front. The last month of the year is so hectic that I never get time to shop in peace.

While spending on luxury fashion, it is important to make sure you choose pieces that are almost like investments. I prefer to shop for cruise wear in January. Since most of India is warm by the end of January, cruise fashion works better than fall fashion. Dior recently held a trunk show of its resort collection in Delhi and Mumbai. The 40-piece collection is full of accessories that are simple, fun and versatile, keeping with the soul of cruise which is the spirit of travel. A red tulle skirt teamed with a bar jacket was the central piece for me. The mid-calf, flirty, elegant skirt is something we will see in spring collections. And you can never go wrong with a bar jacket. The collection also emphasized the waist. Look out for micro shorts and culottes too. Since cruise collections do not have to fit into the fall/winter or spring/summer fashion codes, they have a relaxed yet chic feel. This style works very well for me, perhaps because of the 15 years I spent in Bombay. Floral was a strong theme at Dior and Gucci. Gucci creative director Frida Giannani went into the archives and revisited Gucci's floral patterns. Easy and breezy with a retro feel, they were dresses you'd never get bored of. I felt it was one of the best resort collections of the season. The silhouettes are forgiving and the colour palette draws from the great outdoors. It's a collection that will put you in the mood for a holiday.

When it comes to accessories, it has to be Louis Vuitton or Bottega Veneta. Louis Vuitton's oversized cork sandals in jacquard print (the weave of the season) and coloured, mirrored sunglasses add a playful touch to any outfit. Team these with a textured cabat or a silk envelope bag in a fresh pastel shade from Bottega for the perfect finishing touch.

Cruise shopping is all about having fun with fashion. January can often be depressing with all the festivities behind you, and cruise collections can bring respite. Perhaps the real reason I love resort is that marries my favourite pastimes - holidaying and shopping.

January can be a month of indulgence too!

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