This story first appeared in the July 7, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
This is Hollywood, baby, where the garments that sell are celebrity approved. Swimwear is no exception. When tattoo art-covered Ed Hardy suits showed up on the likes of Britney Spears, Los Angeles shoppers had to have them. “Ed Hardy swimwear is going crazy,” said Melanie Michaud, director of marketing for 17-unit swimwear chain Diane’s Beachwear. “Overall, if you look at the brands that have been the most successful, they have had great marketing campaigns and understand fit.” Besides Ed Hardy, she predicts fashion-forward labels such as B. Swim and Betsey Johnson will continue to score with Los Angeles beach bunnies.
— Rachel Brown
Sin City might as well be called Skin City. “In Vegas, it is all about your body,” said Cynthia Owens-Thompson, swimwear buyer for MGM Mirage’s hotel stores, where Sauvage, Luli Fama and Gottex are leading brands. Bikinis rule the market, “The skimpier, the better,” she said. If one-pieces do enter the picture, they’re monokinis with ample cutouts. Metallic hues and animal prints never go out of style. And prices soar into the hundreds — suits average around $150 at MGM Mirage properties — with little resistance from Las Vegas sunbathers. “If it is a suit that they like, price is definitely not an issue,” said Owens-Thompson.
In sunny San Diego, one suit isn’t enough to get a girl through the yearlong swim season. Beachgoers here value variety to spice up their generous swimwear wardrobes, from sexy to stylish to sporty. Lingerie-inspired looks from Beach Bunny are filling the sexy quotient at swimsuit haven Gone Bananas. Vix swimwear is a must for San Diego customers coveting chic suits. And Billabong and Body Glove are go-to brands on the sand and in the surf along the coastal foot of Southern California. “We sell them top to bottom,” said Tom O’Hara, owner of Gone Bananas, of Body Glove swimsuits.
Brazil is known for its sandy beaches and hot bodies. Not surprisingly, popular cuts for cruise 2009 will feature lots of slim string bikinis and cutout one-pieces. According to a spokeswoman at Brazil-based Cia Maritima swimwear, suits will feature prints galore, with geometric and contrasting animal prints such as zebra, cheetah, leopard and tiger. The color palette ranges from shades of lavender, lilac and eggplant to burnt orange and royal blue.
— Michael Agosta
From south Miami’s Mermaids Boutique to Miami Beach’s Intermix stores and MPL Fashions’ swimwear showroom, cruise 2009 is about showing some skin and styles that can go from the beach to the street. Bandeau and triangle-top bikinis with Brazilian bottoms and revealing one-pieces come in a variety of prints and fabrics, such as metallics; animal, tribal and tropical prints, and jewel tones. Add-ons include cleaned-up embellishments, ruffles and ruching, strap detail and reversible styles. “The Miami girl vacations in glam places including her own home,” said Sari Sloane, vice president of buying and merchandising for Intermix.
— Rebecca Kleinman
With styles named after iconic beach babes such as Bo Derek and Bond girl Honey Rider, Zimmermann’s cruise 2009 collection has a retro modern feel. Bodycon balconettes, underwired construction and padding are featured in Fifties looking bikini tops and cutout maillots, while soft, self-tie triangle and string bikinis, in both geometric prints and plain chambray, boast an Eighties vibe. Frills abound, bikini pants are smaller than ever — by request from customers — and the collection revolves around seven signature prints, including an abstract dot print and a folkloric Russian “babushka” design. Cute silver horse or gold feather metal hardware trims dangle off strings and ties.
— Patty Huntington
Looking good on the beach is as fundamental for Italian women as a glass of Barolo. And this season, there’s something for all with bikinis, tankinis and even one-piece swimsuits high on the list for seagoers. At Argentovivo, the hottest looks are Seventies-inspired swimwear à la Bianca Jagger, with dramatic one-pieces in fluorescent colors and sexier monochromatic black or white tones. A more romantic undercurrent rules at Pin Up Stars with a sea of fairy tale iconography in multicolored flashes and even a naïve version of the Ugly Duckling. African and Indian tribal effects set the mood at Parah, while the elegance of Capri and the exclusivity of Saint-Tropez influenced the Poisson D’Amour collection via pastel hues such as baby pink, sky blue and lilac. Flowers, butterflies, stars and some retro polkadots and stripes also continue to get the green light.
— Chiara Hughes
Britain may not be famed for balmy weather, but bathers sporting bikinis in blinding brights and festooned with bling will raise temperatures at Brighton Beach next summer. Structured styles with Seventies and Pop Art details will be key looks at High Street style mecca Topshop, while PPQ will take a sport-luxe bent with contrasting trimmings and prints. Lovers of bold colors will have the option of saffron-hued embellished bikinis at Tara Matthews, while Elizabeth Hurley’s spring-summer collection will feature coral shades with gold chains. For shrinking violets, Luella Bartley’s collection with O’Neill, dubbed Luella for O’Neill, will offer pretty floral prints.
— Louise Bartlett