I always think of ladies with double barrelled names with yachts in the South of France whenever you mention the word "cruise". "Resort" is much the same. For a long time, cruise/resort collections felt far-removed, blocked by a mega ray of sunshine that would melt me in an instant (I've permanently looked like an overused wax candle whilst I've been in Bangkok). The word pre-collection somewhat diminishes the image of that well-to-do woman in a wide-brimmed sun hat, wafting around in a caftan and of course, in broader retail terms, pre-collections now hang around the rails for a lot longer than mainline collections.
When I look back on these light-flooded images from the Zimmermann cruise collection, shown during MBFWA a few weeks ago, I had a sudden urge to rethink cruise. To take back that word and positively embrace all things cruise-associated in my head. Yes, why shouldn't I be sipping pina coladas with paper umbrellas on a stripy sun lounger by the pool with a myriad of florals, picked out by details of laser-cut holes, biker shapes and twisted ruching. Why can't I lie on a yacht in manner of hot chick in George Michael's Careless Whisper video, wearing a peplum-adorned halterneck swimsuit or a printed tankini. Of course, it could be the copious amount of coconuts that I've consumed in Thailand and the post-massage haze that's bringing on all this cruise talk but if cruise is what Australian designers excel at then you have an exemplary collection here on a platter, courtesy of Zimmemann.
The fact that many of the florals used in this particular Zimmermann collection are reminiscent of my mum's 80s pastel sunday dresses that I used to go through with glee, also helps the cause. They eschewed sleek and exacting digital blooms and instead, went for the sort of bedsheet-type florals that Blossom or Kelly Kapowski would have been more than happy to pile on in abundance. I mean it in the best way when I say that these prints could well have graced a shower curtain, a roll-up window blind or a cushion pad for garden furniture from yesteryear. However, this faded floral image fest was appropriately controlled by the use of biker jacket-inspired shapes, body conscious netting and laser cut detailing, playing around with the opacity of the fabrics and drawing lines and panels on the body to create something more aggressive, beneath the surface of these vaguely daggy florals. It sounds throwaway to say "It's so wrong it's right" but that phrase will keep popping up so long as designers continue to push the levels of taste and dance dangerously around those cheesy borderlines. With this collection, Zimmermann emphasises their forte in creating direcitonal swimwearas well as putting a stamp on their ready to wear that says they mean business – even if that does mean a redux back to a time when cocktails were too sweet and shaggy perms were abound.
Like I said, expect more delayed chronology. I'm of course not in Australia anymore but my Bangkok-melting self would certainly appreciate what these pics have to offer right now…