10 Things We Learned at Fashion Week Swim
As a resident of Miami — especially a resident of Miami Beach — Fashion Week Swim can offer months of style inspiration with easy, breezy day-to-night and beach-to-street resort and swim wear looks. After all, living in a resort town, with a solid twelve months of bikini season, lends itself to this sort of lifestyle dressing. It's no wonder then that the fashion swim industry descends on Miami Beach every July with the annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim at the Raleigh Hotel, as well as the industry's largest trade show Swim Show at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This year also marked Salon Allure's third year at the W South Beach Hotel with its boutique take on the trade show. Here are ten things we learned this year during Fashion Week Swim.
1. Swimwear designers are total babes. Take designer Lisa Burke of Lisa Blue as Exhibit A. Her theatrical runway show opened Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim inside the Cabana Grande tent at the Raleigh Hotel with themes ranging from dazed Grecian goddesses to ruffled flamenco dancers (led by the charge of Karina Smirnoff) and kitschy '50s pin-up babes to sea dragons emerging from the ocean in elaborate head pieces. When it came time to take a bow at the conclusion of her show, the tanned, toned, and buxom beach blonde Aussie took to the runway in a bikini of her own design and strutted the catwalk with as much precision as any of her models.
Flip through the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim Official Program for head shots of the other designers, and there's a recurring theme. They're all stunners with glamourous photos showcasing gorgeous hair, beautiful smiles, and bods that you know look great in a bikini!
2. The one-piece has never looked so hot! The one-piece swimsuit is having a fashion moment. From Cia.Maritima's sporty maillot in stunning yellow with an exaggerated ruche-tied t-back to Mikoh Swimwear's one-piece bandeau with horizontal fringe falling like an accordion down the back to meet its Brazilian-cut bottom, the one-piece turned heads all week. Aqua di Lara featured a beautiful molded-cup, underwire one-piece with skinny straps channeling Art Deco vintage glamour, local label Cote d'Or Swimwear sent a maillot down the runway in a tropical jungle print with a one-shouldered cap sleeve, as well as a show-stopping black one-piece with sexy, plunging sides, and a dramatic cluster of pearls draped across the back, and Mara Hoffman Swim's signature boho prints enjoyed a larger canvas with plunging necklines and a nipped waist. By the end of the week, this bikini devotee was growing envious of the sexy possibilities found when you cover up a little.
3. '50s pin-up throwback is the new silhouette. Tan lines be damned, the newest silhouette in swim comes with a high-waisted, cheeky bottom and molded-cup, underwire top in variations ranging from strapless to halter to over the shoulder. If you want to be the most fashion-forward girl in a lounge chair this summer, then this is your must-have suit. There was Lisa Blue's pin-ups, Mara Hoffman and Cia.Maritima's lattice-work cut-outs, Wildfox Swim's "London Calling" mod interpretation, and Monica Wise of L*Space with her debut collection MAIO Swim by Monica Wise, to name a few. This look's interpretations ranged from sexy and sweet to playful and mischievous, and even modest and demure.
4. Trend Report: creative cut-outs, lace overlay, new ethnic and tribal prints, and bright colors are in. When sorting through the swimsuit racks looking for your new bikini, these are the trends of spring and summer. Creative cut-outs ushered in a whole new era in the swimsuit silhouette with straps criss-crossing the body at Aqua di Lara and laser cut ruffles fluttering over bikini tops at L*Space by Monica Wise. Where it once made waves on Prada's runways, lace has made its sexy transition to resort wear found in both bikini and coverup designs at Cia.Maritima and others. From Mara Hoffman's bohemian prints to a pervasive Mexican and Indian theme found in the poncho-inspired coverups at Theodora & Callum and brightly patterned dhoti pants paired with a turban headband at 6 Shore Road, prints were in. And, of course, bright colors were everywhere from solids to patterns to mix-and-match and color blocking in shades like tangerine, indigo, yellow, pink, and green.
5. Great finds at the Salon Allure Sample Sale. Watching all of these sexy looks strut down the runway definitely resulted in a desire to shop. Fortunately, Salon Allure hosted a killer designer sample sale at the Perry Hotel on Saturday and Sunday featuring items from the designers participating in its trade show, including Charlie by Matthew Zink, Aqua di Lara, and local label Aquarius at up to 50% off. I fell hard for the Made by Dawn suits with their simplicity, textured fabric, and amazing cuts. I went home with three in my shopping bag! All proceeds of the sample sale were donated to Salon Allure's charity partner the Miami Children's Hospital Foundation.
6. Salon Allure was the trade show to get cozy with designers. While Swim Show at the Convention Center may have had every designer under the sun from A.Che to Zimmermann, the sheer volume was enough to make your head spin after about an hour. This was where Salon Allure at the W came into play, this year with 56 designers setting up shop inside their own ocean view hotel suites. Buyers, press, and the like were invited to get cozy and peruse the racks in comfort and style while chatting up designers and their team. I enjoyed getting to know the SoCal girls of Wanderlust Swimwear, Tavik Swimwear, and Mikoh Swimwear, as well as Sinje Lesemann of Koza and her line of cool cork beach bags, and Pooja Kharbanda of 6 Shore Road with her covet-worthy coverups, dresses, and swimsuits. I also made the time to track down Dawn Peterson of Made by Dawn to tell her she had a new fan.
7. Style Saves fashion show rocked, and for a good cause. On the opening night of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, the most fashionable afterparty took place at the Soho Beach House with Styles Saves' Second Annual Summer Fashion Show Fundraiser with all proceeds benefitting Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Miami Children's Hospital Foundation. It was a festive, high-energy show with models sporting Trina Turk launching beach balls and frisbees into the crowd, Papi's hard bodied male models peeling off their shirts for adoring onlookers, and sizzling looks from boutiques I Shine 365 and Atrium.
8. A seat inside Cabana Grande reigned supreme. With all the hoopla and parties surrounding Swim Week there was still nothing quite like having a reserved seat inside the Cabana Grande tent at the Raleigh for the most coveted runway shows of the official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. Lisa Blue, Dolores Cortes, Nicolita, Caffe Swimwear, Mara Hoffman Swim, Cia.Maritima, L*Space by Monica Wise, and Wildfox Swim were just a few of the big names to debut their new collections inside the white tent.
9. Miami's fashion bloggers were the front row celebs to spot. While celebs like Brooke Burke, Christina Milian, and Karina Smirnoff were spotted amidst the odd Real Housewife, as well as a cameo by Scott Disick at the Wildfox Swim show, it was Miami's fashion bloggers who really stood out in the front row. With Fashion Poet Annie Vazquez playing hostess to the IMG camera, she was ever present at the Raleigh all week long. Other bloggers to spot included Ria Michelle, Ginger Harris, and photo-blogger Karla Garcia.
10. Moët Ice and Kim Crawford kept us refreshed in July's heat and humidity. The humidity was at sauna status this week while fashionistas tried to keep their cool on the the Raleigh pool deck in between shows. Fortunately for them, cold libations were on hand at all times courtesy of Moët Ice and Kim Crawford wines. A particularly refreshing choice was the Kim in the Swim cocktail created by Ryan Goodspeed and the Michael's Genuine mixology team made with Kim Crawford sauvignon blanc, vodka, fresh watermelon juice, and lemon over ice. With runway shows starting as late as 10 pm, there was nothing like getting slightly boozed up, hitting the tents, and ogling the provocative catwalk prowlers in itty bitty bikinis before calling it a night.