As I write this in mid-June, it’s 98 degrees in South Beach, so I’m a little fretful about how high July’s mercury might climb as we launch into Miami Swim Week, set for July 14 to 19. And unlike the more structured schedule of New York’s Fashion Week, there remains a somewhat laissez-faire attitude here, with several events still unconfirmed only four weeks from the kickoff. But doesn’t South Beach seem to thrive on its laid-back lifestyle? With that in mind, start planning your barest, breeziest looks, as well as your strategy for working (and playing) the week—remembering to stop for a cocktail here and there. Hence, a map of Swim Week’s hot spots.

Swimshow 2012 at The Miami Beach Convention Center 
Think of it as: The Mother of all Swim Trade Shows Why: For almost three decades, the Miami-based Swimwear Association of Florida has hosted the world’s largest Swim trade show each July—but long gone are its days at the Radisson out near Miami International Airport. Swimwear as a burgeoning industry necessitated a move seven years ago to the Miami Beach Convention Center, where it serves as the ideal daytime counterpart to the glam nighttime events of Mercedes- Benz Fashion Week Swim at The Raleigh hotel. SAF executive director Judy Stein estimates that this year’s SwimShow will attract more than 350 exhibitors representing more than 2,000 brands, with roughly 7,500 buyers and press expected. And while the SAF show remains primarily a trade event, consumers can catch a preview of trends for the coming year at a runway presentation set for Sunday, July 17, at 6:30 PM.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim at The Raleigh 
Think of it as: Runway Central Why: IMG, which produces Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center in New York, is now in its seventh year of erecting white tents adjacent to The Raleigh. And for the 2011 schedule, the accent on global swim labels most definitely seems rooted in locales where catching a killer wave is not just a hobby, but a religion: “You’ll definitely see a broader international scope this year,” notes Lisa Holladay, manager of Brand Experience Marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA and spokesperson for the event. This year’s designers hail from Australia, Brazil, Spain, Colombia, Argentina and beyond. “We also have a great crosssection of American designers: Natori is showing, as is Luxe by Lisa Vogel, who’s our Mercedes-Benz Presents designer.” Meanwhile, another change to look for this season: The Raleigh has upgraded its penthouse suite, once again the site for smaller presentations. The official kickoff party is set for Thursday, July 14, at 8 PM. “Unlike Fashion Week in New York, where you’re already running at 6 AM, the pace seems so laid-back and civilized,” Holladay says. “Miami is so sexy, and everyone’s in a good mood.”

The Setai
Think of it as: A Different Flavor Why: The Zen-like courtyard at The Setai may be a great place to momentarily escape the frenzy of the Swim Week crowds, but it’s also the site of another hot party to kick off the events: the fifth-annual Summer Splash, set for Thursday, July 14. Hosted by Cosmopolitan en Español, the event includes a cocktail reception and a multi-designer fashion show at 10 PM.

The Webster
Think of it as: Retail Nirvana Why: At press time plans were still in the works for Webster happenings, but really, do you need an excuse to check out one of the most beautifully curated retail destinations in all of South Florida?

Salon Allure at the W South Beach 
Think of it as: The Young Upstart Why: Now in its second year, Salon Allure has taken over an entire floor of suites at the W South Beach Hotel & Residences, with designers ranging from Red Carter to Mara Hoffman to Diesel. “I’m the silent partner,” notes Carter with a laugh, pointing to show producers Rick Fatzinger and Ramon Contreras of Miami Beachbased Latitude, who planned the event. Ocean Drive’s cover party also takes place here (on Thursday, July 14, from 9 PM to midnight), with an appearance by cover star Chrissy Teigen and informal modeling featuring Zoë NYC and Beach Bunny Swimwear. Perhaps more than any other venue’s events, those at the W are testament to Swim’s growth as a multifaceted week. “I like to think of it like Art Basel,” Carter says. “The bigger it gets, the better it is for everybody.”

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