Best of the in-betweeners

Top trends from the 2013 resort collections

A renowned local fashion critic once said, of all fashion collections, resortwear is one that's worth the investment, especially for those who care less about flashing recognisable seasonal items than filling their wardrobe with quality clothes that last for seasons to come. Launched originally as an inter-season collection for jet-setters who need light and functional clothes for their Christmas holidays, resortwear has become a pivotal tool in both keeping inventories fresh to lure customers, and giving fans and media a glimpse of what to come in spring.

From a versatile look that feels season-less, resort collections in recent years have taken a massive commercial approach. With the young market eternally craving pieces that shout out the latest trends and brand names, even the seemingly season-less signature of resort collections seems highly seasonal - it's taking some trends from autumn/winter that truly betrays its "beach holiday wear" - leather in this case.

Here are the domineering motifs that make the hottest 2013 resortwear trends.


The urban warrior look embedded in leather that permeated every runway collection in the autumn/winter 2012 showcases also makes an indispensable purchase for resortwear in 2013. Unlike the fierce, Amazonian luxe of the autumn/winter 2013 ranges, the resortwear leather breaks away from the conservative brown, black and burgundy, embracing instead some lighter palettes such as forest green, camel and even pink.

Although some conventional numbers like biker's jackets and coats are up for grabs, leather also adopts less typical forms, such as a bandeau, belted, flounce dress (Balmain), draped, pouf shorts (Givenchy) and overalls (3.1 Phillip Lim).


Peplums have been growing strong in the past few seasons, and it's not likely to see any down day in the near future. Peplums come in silk, denim, leather and even in prints.


There's no detail to beat ruffles when it comes to representing the light, delicate sensibility of the beach holiday. However, the ruffles of resort 2013 collections break away from the typical flirty silk or chiffon, and instead takes various guises, from the sporty knits of Chanel or full-length printed maxi dresses like those by Valentino.


Another unyielding legacy of the Olympics, sportswear-inspired looks make their way to the resort 2013 collections with stripes (Celine), halter necks (T by Alexander Wang), trimming (Prada's entire collection, and Altuzarra), baseball sweaters (Oscar de la Renta), zipped-up track jackets (Bottega Veneta, Emilio Pucci and Givenchy) and drawstring motifs (Chanel), all to reaffirm that fashion in the second decade of the 21st century manages to destroy all barriers between what was traditionally perceived as "luxurious" and what's considered "un-glamorous" (athletics clothes) to achieve a whole new look defined by the words "laid-back luxury".


The short jacket suit or the shorts with matching jacket may be resort staples, but this year they adopt a few key motifs from the autumn/winter 2012 season, making the short jacket suit of the resort 2013 ranges strikingly seasonal. First, it feels like a shortened version of the ubiquitous trouser suit of the winter season (Louis Vuitton), and second, it even comes in leather (3.1 Phillip Lim).


Again, heavy embellishment in the resort collections is a legacy of the autumn/winter 2012 range, although the vivid and surreal luminosity of plexiglass and acrylic of winter are being toned down to make way for sparkling sequins that befit anything from the beach to a pool party.


One totally new dominant look for resort collections is the big skirt, in any length, although it's the maxi and midi that are most beefed up. The extent to which the volume is increased makes the resort skirt feel like a surreal A-line skirt, and it gives off a girlish yet ladylike look.


The translucent organza and light, see-through lace have always been a compulsory element for resortwear thanks to their sensual appeal that befits the luxurious holiday cruise or pool lounging. This season, sheer fabrics are used extensively in patchwork, creating a versatile look that will take wearers from day to night, from velvet minidresses with sheer cap sleeves at Theyskens' Theory, the uber-glamorous ensemble of lace, leather and tulle in a maxidress by Valentino, the green and purple sequinned organza baby-doll dress by Marc Jacobs, to chic layering of sheer fabrics over prints at Celine.


The resort 2013 laces come in a day-to-night look, and at times, they break the conventional sweet and delicate appeal often associated with it. At Stella McCartney, white lace trousers worn with a lace overlay blouse with a sporty look projects a curious contrast. A black lace cardigan worn over a cobalt blue shirt at Oscar de la Renta is a big twist on everyday workwear, which also passes at smart after-hours parties.


As with summer ranges, resortwear collections are never complete without printed maxidresses. Floral and natural prints remain supreme, but those looking for a head-turning difference surely would consider the tribal-esque geometric prints of Givenchy, which is sprinkled with ruffles all over for maximum sensuality.

About the author

Writer: Samila Wenin
Position: Freelance contributor