Planning holiday gift guides in the dog days of summer, shooting swim catalogs in amid a freezing winter: You can’t get around the foibles of timing on the fashion calendar, and chief among them is challenge of producing or attending swimwear shows at the height of Miami’s rainy season. I had checked my weather app before getting on the South Florida-bound plane earlier this week, and sure enough, that angry little thundercloud was posted for every single day of Swim Week. In addition to steamy, humidity-laden temps deep into the 90s, we can count on negotiating the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim tents at the Raleigh as thunder and lightning arrive at least once per evening, as happened last night, sending all the ladies in sky-high shoes and way-short dresses scurrying for shelter. That tiny purse is cute, but next time perhaps carry something a bit more umbrella-friendly?
At Poko Pano, the sizzling temps had us longing to join the models as they splashed around the “runway,” aka the perimeter of the Raleigh pool. The Brazilian line designed by Paola Robba offered up primarily bikinis in a variety of prints, as well as some cool textural details, from a ruffle skimming along a bottom to metallic hardware adorning a triangle top. At Dolores Cortes, the theme was “Urban Safari,” which translated to a variety of graphic prints, a tortoise print mixed with metallic gold, and a black monokini accented with a shell-like midriff panel; the latter was a great look, editorial in a kick-ass, Lara Croft kind of way. Tresemme was the sponsor of Cortes’ show, and while that meant some serious hair—high, braided ponies wrapped with gold-wire headdresses, in keeping with the tribal theme—they also proved a little distracting. The result is great photos, sure, but did the hair ultimately pull focus?
Up in the Raleigh penthouse, Clover Canyon offered a look at its swim collection, a mix of the cool prints that has made its ready-to-wear a go-to resource for red carpets, with fans ranging from Olivia Wilde to Alicia Keys and Anne Hathaway. The suits were good, especially the mixed-print maillots with cut-outs around the midriff, but the cover-ups need some work, as there was something artless and a little drab about their silhouettes. Back down in the Oasis tent, tropical florals and athletic scuba cuts ruled the runway at We Are Handsome, which also was notable for a) including an albino snake as the requisite accessory and b) interspersing its women’s looks with the night’s only men. (Parke & Ronen, how we miss your eye-candy show in Miami!)
From Garden of Eden evocations to intergalactic beach babes: Beach Bunny featuring The Blonds capped the night with its signature vivacity, sending out an “Electric Barbarella”-themed collection that once again embraced this brand’s aversion to subtlety—big hair, big eyes, big jewels and killer thigh-high boots by Christian Louboutin were key to this show’s styling. This is always one of the week’s most hotly anticipated presentations, not so much for the swimwear—a mélange of Mod-meets-futurism cuts, neon colors and metallics, including some spectacular finale corsets—but more so because this is quite simply an Event. That’s why Nina Agdal and Hannah Davis were in the front row, while Kelly Rohrbach walked the runway; the Connecticut-born Rohrbach is an IMG model who may just be a Kate Upton in the making, and you had to love her backstage confession that this was her first runway show, ever. “If I trip and fall, please don’t laugh,” she said, but she needn’t have worried, resembling nothing less than a tower of power in the aptly named “Astro Vixen” silver-chain and leather corset that was among the looks closing the show. Ultimately, it was a bit more Las Vegas than Miami Beach, but does it matter? On Saturday morning, everyone was still talking about it.