Swim Week's 6 Hottest Trends
by julia ford-carther
To production firm IMG Fashion, it’s fitting to host a designer showcase of sultry swimwear in a city where residents spend vast amounts of time in barely there bikinis. For nine years, the company has brought Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim to the balmy streets of Miami Beach, and for five days in July, iconic brands and emerging designers hosted highly anticipated runway presentations, previews, private dinners, and afterparties. Celebrities and international models from Hannah Davis to Chrissy Teigen filled the front rows, while bloggers tweeted and Instagramed images in real time. Outside the tents, Brazil’s foremost designers convened for a poolside Abest & Abit cocktail party; Los Angeles-based Mikoh launched its chic Cali surf-inspired collection with an exclusive dinner with designer sisters Oleema and Kalani Miller at Bianca at the Delano; and French fashion house Chloé—one of the biggest names in the lineup—debuted its first-ever swimwear line to a packed pool deck at Soho Beach House. During the day, more than 5,000 buyers perused the aisles of the Miami Beach Convention Center at the Swimwear Association of Florida’s 31st SwimShow, the industry’s largest trade event, which added even more space this year to fit the increased demand.
While styles won’t hit shelves until spring of next year, we don’t mind getting the sneak peek previews in mid-July. Here, the six trends to take to the beach next summer.
Time to Shine
Gilded metallics grew up this year, boasting a more subtle sheen than in seasons past and lending a chic wearability. Aqua di Lara glazed a futuristic shimmer over solids to update the basic black bikini, while deeply jeweled tones and read-as-nude bronzes at Vix Paula Hermanny reflected flattering shades against glowing skin. At SwimShow, Canadian legend Shan developed a new angle on color blocking, matching glistening sections with similarly hued matte fabrics.
Now a style staple, animal print revealed its softer side with safari-inspired prints that felt more like neutrals than overpowering statements. Touché Collection offered a subtle snakeskin in sophisticated tones of rich eggplant and chocolate brown. Mastering the art of animal, Cia Maritima applied a faded treatment to elongated stripes and spots that stretched across the entire collection.
Longing for More
Inspired by the rash guards of surf culture, long sleeves received an elegant upgrade on the catwalk this season. Industry darling Mara Hoffman dropped another line of her coveted printed pieces, juxtaposing this year’s neon color palette with subdued solid sleeves. Over at the SLS Hotel South Beach, Nanette Lepore delivered a fresh take with a bright white and navy print reminiscent of a rustic Provence tablecloth. At SwimShow, Trina Turk’s standout bodysuit paired a torso-slimming, chevron-printed front with black sleeves.
Flounce Is the New Fringe
Last year, we raved about the fringe, and while a few shredded pieces slipped by this season, what stole the scene at virtually every show was the flowy flounce top. A sporty version showed some swing at Maaji Swimwear, arriving in a braided racerback. Taking cues from her Cuban-American heritage, Nicolita designer Nicole Di Rocco added 1950s Havana retro-glam to her line with an oversize-polka-dot mesh overlay. Doubling up on frill at SwimShow, Laundry by Shelli Segal brought a laser-cut halter top together with a ruffled-edge hipster bottom.
Last year’s über-popular cutout trend gave way to subtly sexier banded edges, as skin peeked through split, shredded, and braided options. Thirty year swimwear veteran Zeki constructed a brilliantly busy one-piece with asymmetrical, triple-twisted bands at SwimShow. Body Glove took a newly fashion-forward approach with knotted bands creating a binding hold. At The Raleigh, L Space by Monica Wise sent models out in eye-catching one-pieces sans sides—only strips of spandex held fronts and backs together.
Hot to the Touch
Swim innovations came in the form of never-before-tried textures, from engineered embroidery to perforated scrunching. At SwimShow, Vitamin A’s Amahlia Stevens gave us a stunning ivory-and-black number in a French Riviera-appropriate pin-holed stripe. Across the way, Becca presented its renowned peek-a-boo crochet knit in this season’s hottest colors, and Skye revamped the signature white bikini with tone-on-tone horizontal relief stitching. Always the trendsetters, Latin designers Luli and Augusto Hanimian of Luli Fama treated Lycra layers to an in-production shearing to create a rich, velvet-like look. Says Luli of the technique, “We’re trying it out and we’ll see how people respond.” Based on what we saw from our front-row seat, we expect everyone else to follow suit come 2015.
photography by frazer harrison/getty images (luli fama, l space, cia maritima, maaji); mike coppola/getty images for mercedes-benz fashion week swim (lepore)
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.