As the name suggests, the Cruise Collections were initially released mid-season for a jet-set clientele who could board a ship and needed to be suitably equipped for the trip. It was Mademoiselle Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel herself who started this trend in 1919 when she noticed the travel habits of her affluent clients. She quickly created a collection of lightweight, easy-to-wear pieces suitable for travel on a steamboat, and the world’s first cruising collection was born. The idea was to outfit travelers going on vacation to warmer climates with spring or summer clothing that was lighter and more casual than their everyday gear.
Connecting the biannual spring and winter lines, the cruise collections are sometimes referred to as resort, as the pieces are often worn during the December shutdown period during the holidays. Our year-round sunshine makes the resort collections ideal for Malaysians to wear both on vacation and throughout the year, making these pieces a smart choice for the discerning shopper. Indeed, as Malaysians return to somewhat normal daily life, the post-pandemic work wardrobe is noticeably more relaxed than before and allows for more stylistic freedom.
Versatility has always been a major consideration for local designer Leslie Variyan, who continually permeates his Variant ready-to-wear brand with refinement, elegance and glamor which, whatever the case, adapts to the women for whom it creates. Using a combination of classic and versatile silhouettes with a modern twist, Variante is first elegant, then contemporary and diverse, taking a woman from home to work, then a night on the town. Born to a mother with an impeccable fashion taste, Variyan learned the fundamentals of fashion early on – what sharp seaming looks like, the impact of good construction, and using clothes as a means of expressing. a sense of timeless style.
Her newly released resort collection exemplifies that spirit and is imbued with a sense of optimism and lightness – perhaps, reflecting our collective joy in surviving the pandemic, and that light at the end of the tunnel that is finally on us.
Staying positive over the past 18 months hasn’t been easy for anyone, let alone anyone involved in fashion and retail, and Variyan is grateful for the chance to keep creating. But he is aware that not everyone has been so lucky.
“The pandemic and the many deadlocks we have been through have caused so much turmoil, fear, destruction, disparity and uncertainty along with other things. As a designer, I was able to use my “free” time to rediscover myself. I learned a new skill and started expressing thoughts through painting. I was able to transport myself to a place of calm and normality, ”he shares. “But as a businessman, I had to think about my staff. I had to think about sustaining my business. I was asking myself the question: what am I doing, how do I do it, where to start and where am I going? With these questions in mind, I chose to be optimistic. I chose to believe in kindness. I chose to be optimistic and had renewed faith and confidence that the future would be bright again. “
Variante’s Resort 2022 collection, which will be presented on the last day of the current KL Fashion Week, is inspired by what is positively possible. With state borders opening and the prospect of travel, the collection aims to infuse joy and positivity with an emphasis on bright colors, vibrant prints and effortless silhouettes. Photographed aptly in the stunning resort-style residence of cultural icon Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, the collection features the brand’s signature floral prints transferred to a lightweight, wrinkle-resistant fabric that travels well.
The color scheme is both playful and elegant, combining bold tones of burgundy, mango sorbet, jade green, and forest moss. The silhouettes flow smoothly while retaining the structure, making them suitable for all sizes and body types. The elegant simplicity of the collection also means that each piece can be styled in multiple ways, allowing the wearer to apply their own creativity to the final look.
“We took our customers’ feedback into account when creating new looks, and in addition to making our outfits suitable for wudhu, [they] are modest, relaxed, elegant and modern, ”explains Variyan. “We design our outfits so that they can be worn as loungewear, casual wear or even glamor for a business meeting or dinner.”
When establishing her post-pandemic wardrobe, comfort is a key factor, but the broader questions should be: who are we now and how do we dress for our new selves? After going through so much and assessing what is most important in our lives, it is time for us to indulge in clothes that inspire a sense of optimism and joy. We certainly deserve it.
KL Fashion Week will take place digitally and physically from November 1-7 at Pavilion KL. Click on here for the full program of events.
This article first appeared on November 1, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.