Your mind can’t help but travel to sultry places when it’s 105 degrees in the shade and you’re viewing a seemingly endless parade of tawny, bikini-clad skin. “Dewy” was most definitely the word of Miami Swim Week, with models and attendees alike glistening under the searing South Beach sun. But the high-wattage combination of scorching temps, stunning locales and sensational collections also made for some of the most thrilling shows of what is now, seven years in, a jam-packed week. With that in mind, following are my top fashion moments of Swim Week, each sure to add a little sizzle to your 2012 swim plan.

Norma Kamali at the Dream South Beach:
Set in a cabana atop the newly opened Dream, this outdoor presentation was simply divine, even if it was the only one utterly devoid of airconditioning. Kamali’s ’40s-focused, retro-glam looks were the cool breeze that blew into South Beach, from the ruffle-adorned nude halter suit splashed with crystals and ruching to the lingerie-inspired bikinis and maillots. Even at the height of her Miami Beach moments, Bettie Page never had it so good.

Mara Hoffman at The Raleigh:
Consistently one of the highlights of Mercedes- Benz Fashion Week Swim, Hoffman’s show once again brought great design to the Cabana Grande runway at The Raleigh tents. Tribal influences revealed themselves in boldly toned graphics and macramé details, while Hoffman likewise remains the go-to resource for fab poolside-chic options, including a flowing, peacock-feather-print caftan that everyone was coveting. Undoubtedly the best show to represent the perfect blend of swim with a ready-to-wear aesthetic.

Tori Praver at the W South Beach:
This year marks the third time Praver has shown her eponymous swim label in Miami, and it’s been intriguing to watch her growth.A wealth of model-related swim lines populates the market, but it’s easy to see that for Praver it’s a passion and not a side business. Among the standout looks of her 2012 Desert Sunset collection: the Dusty bikini with strapless fringed top and Praver’s signature use of smocking as a swim fabric, from maillots in sweet floral prints to a high-waisted bikini that was quite glam.

Shivan & Narresh at The Raleigh Pool:
This show gets my vote not so much for fashion- forward depth or breadth—it was a brief presentation highlighted by some fab colorblocked suits—but because this small event made use of one of Miami Beach’s most iconic spaces: The Raleigh pool. Shivan & Narresh are Indiabased designers discovered by IMG, presenter of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, and one could appreciate the idea that they could enjoy a few moments on swim’s world stage, however brief. I wish more shows made use of the pool as a venue, either with a formal runway over the top or, as this show did, the simplicity of a few models splashing through the water.

Melissa Odabash at the Shore Club:
Two nights earlier, swim superstar Odabash premiered her 2012 collection on a runway built over the W South Beach pool, but on Sunday of Swim Week, invitees got an up-close-and-personal look at this well-received line at an intimate gathering at the Shore Club, the designer’s hotel of choice when in town. Here, it was all the easier to see details of the vintage prints Odabash resourced in Italy (a strategy to avoid knock-offs, she said), as well as the Warhol-inspired pop colors of orange, turquoise and pink. Throw in the animal prints (another Odabash signature and a trend seen throughout Swim Week), as well as the ready-to-wear pieces Odabash is debuting this year, and she hit all the right notes.

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