While the concept of a “bikini body” might feel passé in the post #MeToo era of female empowerment, the reality is that the pressure remains strong to look flawless on the beach. That’s why there was a militant quality to the show at which Ester Manas and Balthazar Delepierre presented their first swimwear designs.
Models preparing to walk in skimpy designs habitually step up their workouts, book a fake tan and spend hours having foundation applied to every square inch of their body backstage.
The women at the Ester Manas show, many of them non-professionals, came as they were. Voluptuous curves, cellulite and stretch marks were proudly on display. “We don’t care about the summer body. We’re all about the sunset body,” Delepierre quipped backstage.
These designs were meant to capture those moments of hedonistic abandon after sea and surf, basked in a body-positive glow, hence the radiant palette of pink, orange, lilac and lime, for the green flash that is sometimes seen at sunset.
In addition to their signature ruched dresses and peephole knit pieces, the brand is introducing bridal and loungewear, like ribbed kicked flare pants. Meanwhile, its one-size-fits-all designs will now be flanked by size-adapted options.
“We wanted to provide more comfortable options for everyday dressing,” he said.
Those included a T-shirt and shoes teasing their capsule collection with Scandi cool brand Ganni next summer. Yet much of Manas’ offering continues to center on those gathered dresses and tops, sheer enough to show off the bikinis underneath.
This season, they also came in glossy black or purple vinyl versions that provided a little more coverage while still nicely hugging the body’s natural shape. For good or bad, not all curvy women feel comfortable flaunting their flesh. Now that Manas is widening its range, it will be interesting to see how it can bring more modest customers into the fold.