What we saw at Miami Swim Week: Animal prints, exotic looks and so many thongs

The 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show takes over the W South Beach Hotel

Video recapping some of the models that walked the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show at the W South Beach Hotel in Miami Beach on Sunday, July 14, 2019.
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Video recapping some of the models that walked the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show at the W South Beach Hotel in Miami Beach on Sunday, July 14, 2019.

So many bathing suits. So little time.

Miami Swim Week has come and gone, and after seeing all those fearless, bold, confident women, we are really motivated to up our beachwear game.

And now we have a better picture of what to look out for as we embark on swimsuit shopping. For Miami people, bathing suits aren’t just something to toss in the drawer until the weather mercifully warms up. We live summer year round, and we have to own it.

Here are five trends we spotted.


Matias Ocner/Miami Herald

You never know what you’re going to get at a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Show ⁠— and that’s a good thing (last year, awesome new mom Mara Martin sashayed down the runway with her baby latched onto her breast). This year at the W South Beach, the runway was a snapshot of modern femininity. There were women of all sizes and shapes, ages and colors. Gorgeous model Kathy Jacobs, 55, stunned in a two piece sporting a silver bob. Another model walked the runway in a hijab. Model Christie Valdiserri, who has alopecia, unveiled a bald head at the end of the runway, pulling off her blond wig. Model Djaniel Carter, who suffers from a painful medical condition, was pushed down in a wheelchair and stood up to strut a few steps and then returned to her seat. The moral of SI’s Story: All are welcome.

Old school/retro

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Simon Soong

Sex sells, but glamour still rules. We saw lots of high waists, ruffles, bandeau tops and luxe animal prints. Case in point: Tori Praver’s On The Run collection was inspired by old Hollywood, embodying femininity and sophistication. Lots of looks had a vintage, almost Marilyn Monroe feel. Chloé Rose was inspired by 1970s Barbie, showcasing bold, bright, and flirtatious pieces and figure-flattering silhouettes. And booty, lots of booty.

A focus on the exotic

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Simon Soong

For those of us who drool over our friends’ vacation pictures on Facebook from our dreary cubicles, we can dream of early retirement. We can also pick up swimwear that can transport us oh so fleetingly to somewhere like, oh, Italy, for starters. Sinesia Karol’s aptly named Capri line at Paraiso Miami Beach was inspired by the island’s “buzzing streets, vibrant landscape, rocky caves, vivid blue sea, and magnetic energy of the people.”

Eco-friendly fabrics

LUIS CASTiLLO Getty Images

There was a definite focus on the environment throughout the annual event this year, with recycled and plant based fabrics, noted influencer/style watcher T. Bernie. At Cia Maritima’s Tropics plastic free presentation, guests drank from reusable water bottles and sipped on cocktails with stainless steel straws. The highlight was a peek at the Life Print collection in which the Brazilian brand partnered with AMPARA Animal for the first ever certified Jaguar print. One hundred percent of profits go to help preserve the endangered species.

Skin is always in

This is Miami Swim Week, and if you’re a prude, stay home. Attendees were privy to a ton of flesh in the form of barely there bikinis; keyhole cutouts; plunging necklines; thongs galore and gobs of upper thigh baring. “I love this trend,” said Bernie. “It’s reminiscent of ‘80s Olivia Newton John/Let’s Get Physical or ‘90s Baywatch — fashion always comes back around. It requires a level of confidence and what I like about it is that you see all body types rocking it.”

Sports Illustrated held its swimsuit open casting call at the W South Beach Hotel in Miami Beach on Friday, July 12, 2019. Participants waited for hours before their audition with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit team.