Jason Wu, Alexander Wang and Chris Benz all added swimwear to each of their resort collections for the very first time this year.
Blame it on the tough retail climate, says Catherine Moellering, executive vice president of Donegar’s Tobe unit.
“It’s not totally surprising that we’re seeing this,” Moellering says. She notes many other designers are expanding their brands to other retail categories and cited Tory Burch, who recently entered eyewear category, as an example.
It’s all about driving more volume and coaxing luxury shoppers to spend more, according to Moellering.
But swimwear is tricky.
“It’s not a lot of fabric to communicate the brand message,” she says. “It’s much easier to communicate what you’re about with yards of fabric.”
The shift to swimwear also speaks to the importance of a designer’s resort collection.
“It used to be a season that not a lot of people paid attention to, but it has become a bigger business,” Moellering says.
Historically, resort collections were created for wealthy women who would travel to warmer climates during the winter, but now these pieces provide retailers with fresh merchandise. Resort pieces arrive at retail during the Christmas holidays and linger until the spring collections debut. This means that these pieces have a long time on the full-price selling floor, which is a relief for retailers that have to aggressively price apparel during the holiday season.
Click ahead to get a taste of the swimwear debut of these three designers.
By Christina Cheddar-Berk
Posted 22 June 2011
Designer Jason Wu has included his first swimwear in his latest Resort collection, which drew its influences from a trip Wu took to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Pictured here is a bandeau bikini.
Jason Wu’s first line of swimwear includes this sporty maillot style suit, which taps into this year’s trend toward color-blocked, scuba-styled pieces.
Wu, as well as Michael Kors, Chanel, and several other designers, showed swim suits that incorporated this style.
Other pieces in Wu’s collection echoed the swimwear feel by incorporating brightly colored piping and stretchy fabrics. The corset style also has a retro feeling.
This piece also highlights the Old San Juan inspiration, which inspired the color scheme that dominated the collection: blue, coral and peach.
Swimwear may have been the next logical step for Alexander Wang. After all, the designer has been releasing a few lingerie pieces each season, and he is very comfortable with sporty styles.
Resort 2012 also marked the debut of sneaker designs by Wang.
The yin and yang of resort wear is captured in this image, which pairs an over-sized anorak with a swimsuit that conjures up thoughts of competitive swimming.
The athletic references are easy to see in this piece from Alexander Wang’s Resort 2012 collection.
Despite the athletic inspiration and the super roomy jackets, Alexander Wang’s designs incorporate sexy details such as cut-outs.
In total, the Resort 2012 collection included eight swimsuits. Here’s another athletic tank, with cutouts, paired with a mesh windbreaker.
Wang’s collection also clearly demonstrated his own take on the bikini as a layering piece
In the past there was a progression designers often took as they branched into other categories, but younger designers such as Chris Benz aren’t holding to that protocol.
Benz debuted his first swimwear during Resort 2012. The designs incorporated one-piece suits that gave a nod to retro surf styles. Pictured here is a watercolor-style patterns in mango and chocolate.