Fashion

July 31, 2014

It’s a wrap: Beach bikini showcase went swimmingly

The annual swim extravaganza came to town offering a designer preview of what next season’s beaches will look like. In a word: hot!

From the return of the one-piece swimsuit to the surge of sporty silhouettes, Swim Week Miami Beach offered expert intel on swimwear’s top trends.

In its 10th year, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim’s fashion shows at The Raleigh provided a panoramic view of what the beach will look like next season, pulling from the nostalgia of the past and the dazzle of the future.

SwimShow, the simultaneous trade show at the Miami Beach Convention Center and, a few satellite presentations rolled out a mesmerizing pastiche of swimsuits — both daring and modest — breezy maxi dresses and caftans, cover-ups and shorts, and a smattering of looks more suited for the Broadway stage than the beach.

Now trending? Top looks included maillots, sports-look pieces and mixed prints. Details were also tantamount. L*Space designer Monica Wise says, “This season, I was focused on back details — honing in on the back of bikinis.” And Wise did just that by adding intricate crochet accents to the rears of her suits.

Said designer Mara Hoffman: “This year is all about color, trying to push things and take it to the next level. Athletic-inspired silhouettes are really big this year.”

Wetsuit-like bikinis, long-sleeve one pieces and zipper-front suits peppered almost every catwalk.

Among other trends that emerged: retro gingham; kitschy fruits; vintage maps; cabana stripe prints. Animal lovers will rejoice in the patterns that included images of horses, cheetahs, birds and penguins. Maaji’s “Royal Riders” collection smartly married the equestrian theme with gingham and plaid patterns.

For the fashion forward, sleeved crop-tops, asymmetrical structures and cutouts — often in black and neon — garnered applause in the Rip Curl and Suboo shows. Also of note: Fewer animal prints, with tropical flora in their stead.

The runways also were filled with great choices for off the beach. The Meskita collection, presented at Soho Beach House, showcased the brand’s signature cocktail of structured silhouettes and feminine detailing dipped in luxury crochets and silks. From cover-ups that fall gracefully like willows to aqua maillots in wave patterns, the line is full of movement.

“My inspiration is the vibration of the sun and water, of nature, of the air,” says Alessandra Meskita, the Brazilian designer who created her first collection at age 15. “If you could see sound, what would it look like?”

As Swim Week’s scale and reach expand each summer, it is evident the event is placing both South Beach and swimwear on the fashion map. Says Everything But Water Creative Director Sabra Krock: “The swim category has truly come into its own. It’s no longer about function and fits — it’s a fashion category in and of itself with lots of excitement and fun.

“There is a strong integration now of trends seen on the ready-to-wear runway and what happens in the swim market. There are lots of fabulous upstart vendors and ready to wear designers entering the category. It’s a very exciting time to be in swim.”

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