“Miami’s the best; it’s really the smartest of the fashion weeks, when you think about it,” said Mara Hoffman backstage prior to her show. The designer, who roundly agreed to be everyone’s favorite during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, had a wholly pragmatic reason for her love of showing in South Beach. “When you show in New York, typically you’ve already shown to the buyers a few weeks prior to that; here in Miami, you could see them on the same day. It makes so much sense from a business point of view.”
An hour later, Hoffman was rolling out her 2015 Swim collection, filled with her signature graphics, but mixed into a neon palette that set the runway ablaze (this is always a hot show, among the reasons Tori Praver and Kelly Slater were in the front row). The graphics were woven through a tropical thread, the result of Hoffman’s recent trip to Guatemala. These were bright, happy pieces, a combination of her love of injecting poolside chic — the great maxi dress, a pair of harem pants with a triangle bikini top — with looks that felt wholly modern, especially her cropped rashguard with a bikini bottom. In bright neon graphics, it felt very Mara Hoffman, which is to say modern, chic and with an eye toward forward-thinking design.
Earlier in the day, Tory Burch’s team hosted a presentation of her Resort 2015 collection in the Soho Beach House penthouse, and the combination of that posh space’s blue-tiled floors against the backdrop of Miami’s azure waters created a perfect framework for Burch’s pieces. For Resort, she was inspired by the artist Milton Avery, and you could indeed see the reference in both her color palette (largely blues and sea green against white) and a leaning toward American-craft prints. Craft also found its way into the bags of braided leather, the flower-bedecked straw totes and the espadrilles, though you had to appreciate the rashguards — a piece that’s everywhere this swim week — which under the deft hand of Burch were adorned with a simple and yet wholly feminine (and very Tory) ruffle.
As of day three of swim week, we’re able to pinpoint some clear trends: The as-mentioned, seen-everywhere rashguards, as well as touches of lace, graphic-meets-tribal prints, and metallic or chain accents. The latter was true of New York-based Caitlin Kelly, who debuted her Summer 2015 collection in The Raleigh Hotel penthouse. Yellow-gold chains dripped off of bikinis and cover-ups, but especially good were the sleek halter monokinis, gathered at the midriff with a gold medallion, which one show-goer deemed “Versace-esque.”
Later in the evening, Monica Wise presented a solid showing of her L*Space collection — it wasn’t the most design-driven event of the night, and honestly, the swim shows, more than any other fashion week, are the moment when you clearly see presentations that tend to be more catalog-driven, i.e. offered up for the buyers and not the press. Wise’s plethora of solid-toned pieces, mixed with some colorblocking and a smattering of graphic prints, was most definitely an example of this. It was a great collection, but a decidedly commercial one. “Commercial” can be a negative word in the fashion industry — in the swim business it tends to be more forgiven. Wise is a talented designer, so it would be great to see her stretch her creative wings a bit more, if only for the runway.