Swim fashion shows may get wet

Swimwear fashion shows and storms don’t mix.

As the apparel industry prepares for Miami’s annual Swim Week — a flurry of fashion shows, poolside parties, and other events surrounding swimwear — torrential rains threaten to put a damper on the festivities.

Organizers were looking to the skies wearily Wednesday, with few contingency plans, as South Florida wrings itself out after days of heavy rain, with more forecast to come.

“Our plan is to wait it out,” said Cece Feinberg, Miami-based publicist for Peroni’s Emerging Designer Series, a fashion show featuring nine South Florida designers, scheduled poolside at the SLS Hotel South Beach on Wednesday evening. “I wish there were somewhere to go or a tent to set up at a moment’s notice.”

In Miami, punctuality is a relative term. So if it is raining for the 8 p.m. Wednesday night show, it will start late, said Feinberg, who is also planning a Wildfox fashion show at the Soho Beach House in Miami Beach on Sunday night.

“It’s Miami — hopefully they can duck and cover, and hopefully the Soho will let them go into the lobby restaurant area,” she said. “Some people will just have to get wet. Unfortunately there are some things we can’t control. I think sometimes you try to duck for cover and do the best you can.”

It wouldn’t be the first time that downpours have dampened sizzling summer events in South Florida.

In 2005, MTV’s annual Music Video Awards were scheduled at the same time Hurricane Katrina’s track took aim at the state. As a result, VMA week was drenched, and some activities canceled.

The following year, MTV moved the awards back to New York.

At the Raleigh in Miami Beach on Wednesday, crews were on schedule setting up air-conditioned tents for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, Swim Week’s main fashion shows, which kick-off with an outdoor party Thursday evening and fashion shows that run through Monday night.

“Shows will go on rain or shine, and we look forward to another great event,” said Christina Neault, executive producer of IMG Fashion Events and Properties, in an emailed statement.

Salon Allure, which has held outdoor runway shows each of the past three years, creating a platform over the pool at W South Beach, luckily changed course this year, and is planning its show in an indoor ballroom on Friday evening, said publicist Julia Brown.

A smaller, overflow group, made up of designers’ friends and family, are expected to watch the show on live streaming video in the hotel’s garden.

If it rains, the group can move indoors to the hotel’s nightclub, the Wall, which is reserved as a backup, said Rick Fatzinger, co-founder of Salon Allure, a luxury brand show.

“In the past years, it hasn’t been an issue,” Brown said. “A lot of time when you have a show and put all your assets into a show of this size, there isn’t any real backup plan. You just sort of pray.”

For the scores of fashion designers, buyers and press flying in from California, Australia, Europe and elsewhere, the weather puts a bit of a wet blanket on their trip, but what can they do?

“It’s Miami — it’s the way it goes,” Feinberg said. “You can’t tent the entire city.”

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