Miami Beach was swimming in fashion last week — from barely there bikinis to geometric cutout one-pieces and breezy cover-ups, all in vibrant prints, cabana stripes and solids, splashed in shades of orange, aqua and pastels.
Lanky models in high heels and suede booties strutted the runways, on pool platforms, in tents and hotel ballrooms, filling dozens of designer shows that brought next season’s beach and resort wear to life.
Centered around SwimShow, the largest swimwear trade show in the world, held each July at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Swim Week’s fashion shows, parties and other events lured buyers, fashionistas and international press to South Florida to eye the latest collections.
“It brings wonderful attention to what is happening in swimwear, and where else than in Miami?” said designer Anna Kosturova of Vancouver, who showed her crocheted swim and resort wear on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim.
“This is the testing ground to know how good your product is,” Kosturova added Tuesday at her booth in the Convention Center, where buyers from the Four Seasons Punta Mita, Mexico and Harrods of London were browsing.
Inside two massive tents at the Raleigh Hotel, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim drew standing-room-only crowds for five days of fashion shows and events, featuring 33 designers. Other runway shows and satellite events were held at an array of venues, including the SLS Hotel South Beach and the Soho Beach House.
From boho chic to cheeky, and military tough to sophisticated cool, swimwear designers reinvented themselves yet again for the upcoming 2014 resort season.
For sheer drama, the Nicolita fashion show at Mercedes-Benz began with a white-suited detective and trench-coated models holding flashlights, showcasing the show’s theme: “The Search for the Perfect Booty.”
“It’s all about reinventing the bikini,” said Nicole Di Rocco, 33, owner and creator of Nicolita, based in Los Angeles.
Di Rocca’s designs incorporated lace and crochet inserts and ruffle trims, in vibrant mints, corals and polka dots, some with big bows — reminiscent of Betty Boop.
Agua Bendita’s collection ranged from grunge to Navajo-like prints, with additions like leggings, cargo pants and short shorts over bikinis.
Standout pieces included a one-piece swimsuit with a dangling camera design on the front, and cover-ups and maxi-dresses with large lion prints.
Dolores Cortés offered a sea of aqua, brightly colored prints and pastel snakeskin, on bikinis and maillots, with a variety of cutouts.
A chartreuse green pleated maxi skirt, purple bikini with mesh inserts, fuchsia two-pieces and items in a feminine impressionist-like print highlighted the show, whose finale featured a model wearing a bikini top made of gold plates with studs, atop a flowered bikini bottom.
L*Space by Monica Wise incorporated crystal blue Caribbean colors and sugary sand colors, in prints, and mix and match bikinis, often adorned in fringe or ruffles.
“It’s all about mixing and matching, all about bright colors, and a lot of bikinis that have movement,” Wise said. “I love movement in swimwear.”
Many suits, in color-blocking, were reversible for versatility, she said.
Her models wore their hair in plaited ponytails coated in glitter, and shimmery necklaces, showcasing fringed minidress cover-ups and maxi dresses in addition to bikinis and one-pieces with cutouts.