The Third Season

Resort-wear collections help launch spring styles and make luxury shopping a year-round affair

Dan Jackson / Louis Vuitton

Resort, that elitist-sounding fashion niche, has exploded into a full-blown category, here Louis Vuitton, Collection Croisiere 2008, Look 1.

Back in the late 60s and early 1970s, fashion designers created warm-weather clothes for affluent women who were heading south to the tropics, where they would wait out winter's chill in more temperate climes. They called it resort or cruise wear, and the tags stuck even when many of those women started staying home and going to work.

Today resort, that élitist-sounding fashion niche, has exploded into a full-blown category complete with runway shows, designer appearances and lots and lots of very salable merchandise. Originally conceived of as clothes to wear on a vacation--casual separates, swimwear, maybe a few simple cocktail...

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