Frankies Bikinis, the Los Angeles-based contemporary swimwear line founded five years ago by then-18-year-old Malibu native Frankie Aiello, is branching out into ready-to-wear. The collection, dubbed Aiello, will debut alongside Frankies Bikinis’ resort 2019 collection during a runway show in L.A. on June 21.
Aiello, now 23, said she chose to forgo showing at Miami Swim Week, which she has done for the past four years. “I feel like at this point I could show in Miami with my eyes closed. Now was the time to bring it back to my hometown and do something different,” she said. (Another 18-year-old designer, Gianna Caruso of GiGi, will make her Miami Swim runway debut this year.) Frankies Bikinis sells in 200 retail doors worldwide including Kith, Selfridges, Diane’s Beachwear and Revolve.com, and Aiello will sell primarily on the Frankies’ e-commerce site.
The designer believes there are few rules to follow in fashion anymore, which is also the idea behind her rtw collection. “I cringe when I hear the words ‘beach cover-up.’ We wanted to detach ourselves from that and create a new era of cover-ups.”
Social media, she said, has enabled customers to reach her directly asking for styling advice on how to wear their swimsuits both on and off the beach. “All our girls aren’t just wearing Frankies Bikinis on the beach, they’re wearing it everywhere, so the ready-to-wear collection is based on the idea that our girl can change from tomboy to flirty girl next door. That’s why the show is called ‘Drift.'”
The Aiello pieces are a sharp contrast to the resort 2019 swim collection, which is feminine, with tie-fronts, ruffles, colorful ribbed solids, florals and some athletic-inspired styles. “Ready-to-wear is definitely more on the boyish side because the swim this season was more girly. I was going for that balance,” she said. There are canvas jumpsuits and overalls, windbreakers and silvery pullovers, as well as clear PVC pieces that are meant to show off the swimsuits underneath. Retail prices are $65 to $500 for Aiello and $70 to $200 for Frankies Bikinis.
The color story is inspired by the streets of Tokyo, but Aiello said her apartment in Los Angeles, paired with her company headquarters in the downtown Arts District and her parents’ home in Malibu, most influences her designs. “That’s how I define my own style — being out and about in a little dress with sneakers,” she said.