Some like it hot — especially women’s swimwear designers.
For the eighth year, thousands of fashion industry pros and onlookers migrated to Miami Beach to check out the latest in "barely there" attire during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. The show, which is one of the largest swimwear trade shows, ran from July 19 to July 23.
Although the bathing suits may be skimpy, the stakes are not. Women’s swimwear sales are projected to grow to $2.9 billion this year while total U.S. swimwear sales are expected to hit $4.2 billion, according to forecasts from market research firm NPD Group.
“For designers, group shows offer turn-key production and public relations elements,” said Christina Neault, executive producer of IMG Fashion. “For buyers and media in attendance, it allows them to see three or four designers within one show.”
This year, color continued to dominate the runway as models strutted down the catwalk in intricate patterns, coordinating pastels and animal prints. Designers also put a new spin on the traditional one-piece suit with cut-out designs and silhouettes reminiscent of past decades.
The show’s popularity grew this season as the number of designers showing their Spring 2013 collections there hit an all-time high with more than 30 present. The list included Lisa Blue, Luli Fama, Mara Hoffman Swim and BCBGMaxAzriaGroup.
Click ahead to see the newest swimwear trends for 2013.
By Katie Little
Posted 24 July 2012
“Definitely the big story is color — just like in apparel,” said Catherine Moellering, executive vice president of Tobe, a fashion retail consulting firm. “That’s a trend that we don’t see going away.”
Marshal Cohen, an analyst with the NPD Group, added that color is the best prescription to curing consumers’ “laissez-fair attitude” and getting them to buy.
“It is historically one of the best vehicles to help the lagging propensity for consumers to purchase,” he said. “In other words — stimulate.”
Luli Fama’s collection drew upon the trend with eye-popping hues and an eclectic mix of prints. The presentation also incorporated pastels, a look that Moellering forecasts will grow in popularity during the 2013 season.
Designers Nicole Di Rocco and Christina Milian paired up to design Nicolita’s Swim 2013 collection, which drew inspiration from 1940s Cuba and the jet-set lifestyle.
This outfit features the animal print trend, which Cohen predicts will continue to make a comeback from its heyday decades ago.
Di Rocco created the brand in 2003 to flatter, curvier figures with the company’s signature Cuban-style bottoms and blend vintage glamour with modern day silhouettes.
Although she has been designing under her own label since 2000, Mara Hoffman did not jump into the swimwear business until 2008. This year marks her fourth-consecutive year presenting at the show. With a “desert outlaw gypsies” theme, Hoffman’s collection featured tribal and kaleidoscope prints, continuing her trademark inclusion of intricate bohemian designs.
This look, as well as several others in the collection, resembles a kaleidoscope. Since the designs are unlike many others on the market, they could boost retailers’ sales.
“Any time you have something new and exciting, that’s a great reason for consumers to buy,” Moellering said.
Several of this year’s looks featured ruffles to play up women’s figures. Other more feminine embellishments that analysts expect to hit the racks soon include lace and crochet.
The earrings were oversize, and metallic was everywhere in Red Carter’s eponymous Swim 2013 collection. This golden-hued suit features the shaping elements that Cohen predicts will become even more popular as consumers try to enhance what’s lacking and reign in what’s too abundant.
“Swimwear affords the consumer the way to do it in some ways even more than the intimate apparel does,” he said about the slimming and boosting effects of swimsuits.
Already popular in its native Brazil, Cia.Maritima set out to win U.S. pocketbooks and fans during its Miami show. This look, which may evoke the rain forest more than the beach, is emblematic of the rise in one pieces with cut-outs that are more whimsical and fashion forward than the traditional suit worn during lap swimming.
“In terms of shapes, we’re seeing a lot more interest in one pieces, but what’s interesting is that they have a lot more cutouts,” Moellering said.
Pictured here is Australian fashion and swim label White Sands Australia’s take on the Little Black Bikini. The brand’s collection was also heavy on pastel pinks and greens.
Lisa Blue’s presentation also included an eclectic mix of Egyptian, Grecian and Flamenco influences as well as large embellished head adornments.
Hyper-feminine looks continued in this pastel Luli Fama look. Several designs incorporated bows into their suits.
This one-piece from Lisa Blue harkens back to the pin-up era. The designer’s show kicked off the season’s presentations. Last year, Blue hosted her first solo fashion show in the U.S. at Fashion Week Swim.
The suits were shimmery and the accessories over the top in Red Carter’s show on Sunday. This look, one of the last two of the collection, followed outfits with disco ball necklaces and purses.
Technically a one piece, this suit continues the animal print theme and includes bright yellow color accents.
Several looks, including this one from the Luli Fama presentation on Sunday, included tops with fringe.
Brazilian brand Poko Pano mixed its colorful looks with more subdued ones featuring splashes of white and black. This outfit was part of a series of beach-inspired designs with birds.