For the fifth year in a row, the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim extravaganza splashed into town for five fun-filled, albeit exhausting, days of skin, swim and soirees. The year’s Fashion Week Swim saw the greatest number of designers ever, including, Tibi, ANK by Mirla Sabino, True Religion Swimwear, Ed Hardy Swimwear, Poko Pano, Xtra Life LYCRA®, Cia.Marítima, Luli Fama, L*Space by Monica Wise, (this season’s Mercedes-Benz Presents designer), Tibi, Caffé Swimwear, Marysia Swim, Crystal Jin, ANK by Mirla Sabino, True Religion Swimwear, Red Carter, Aqua di Lara, Tori Praver Swimwear, Mara Hoffman, Ed Hardy Swimwear, White Sands Australia, Poko Pano, Xtra Life LYCRA®, Vitamin A, Cia.Marítima, Luli Fama and V Del Sol. Overall, the shows were a throwback to the 80s, with models sporting bizarre hairstyles, funky make-up, outlandish accessories, and of course, the requisite Michael Jackson (R.I.P.) songs on the soundtrack.
Many of the designers showcased retro-suits, featuring belts, knots, buckles, studs and hardware. Other common themes were bright colors and oversized, exaggerated accessories. Standouts included Miami-based swimwear designer Red Carter’s eponymous line and Christian Audigier’s Ed Hardy show.
Red Carter told The Daily that his inspiration for this year’s “Rock and Roll Space Hookers Circa 1984″ came from his father’s Playboy magazine collection. Carter’s show, which was rumored to be overbooked by 400, did not disappoint. Lots of eccentric looks graced the runway, including black-pink-and-gray animal prints, suits with studs, cutouts and splicing, thunder bolts and wide metallic belts on futuristic-looking models wearing black lipstick and funky hairstyles.
Similar to last year, this year’s Ed Hardy show was part rock concert, part frat party, and featured his trademark colorful, tattoo-inspired suits, complete with the signature skull and crossbones, unique embellishments and custom hardware. Bright colors, sequins, and studs covered the suits that barely covered the models, who, in Mohawk-style hairdos and Joan Jett inspired make-up strutted down the runway in matching Ed Hardy patent leather pumps to the beat of Boom Boom Pow and M.J.’s Dirty Diana. The retro 80s vibe filled the room as the models revved up the crowd by waving their arms in the air and swinging huge silk scarves to garner applause. Everyone seemed to be having a blast, enjoying Audigier’s unique, audacious designs.
As usual, the Mercedes Benz Star lounge in the Raleigh’s seventh floor Esther Williams’ suite was the place to see and be seen, and take in much needed A/C and refreshments in between shows. At the lounge, we had the opportunity to talk to Sex and the City film hunk and part-time Miami Beach resident Gilles Marini, (made famous by his steamy outdoor shower scenes that got Samantha all in a twist in the movie) whom we barely recognized with clothes on. The charming Marini, a spokesman for Mercedes-Benz, and Dancing with the Stars runner-up, is scheduled to appear in the upcoming seasons of Brothers and Sisters and Nip Tuck. He said he loves Miami and was enjoying the shows with his wife, Carole and two gorgeous children.
The Shay Todd show, held poolside at Wet at the W Hotel was delayed by a brief downpour with gusty winds that toppled part of the stage and an alarm that brought out the Fire Marshall. Despite the setback, the folks at Tara, Ink., including partner, Nick D’Annunzio, who helped rebuild the stage on the pool, kept the crowd happy and put on a great show. We couldn’t help but wonder, “Why all the fuss over a little rain?” After all, the place is named WET! Celebrities who braved the rain delay included actress, Tara Reid and German boyfriend Michael Axtmann; The Howard Stern Show co-host, Robin Quivers; BRAVO TV’s The Real Housewives of New York, Kelly Bensimon; The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Dina Manzo, and BRAVO TV’s Miami Social, Maria Lankina. After the show, Shay Todd held the after party for her show at the Wall at the W, which opened officially to the public on Saturday night.
As expected, de rigueur after parties took place all over South Beach, including the Raleigh penthouse, WALL at W South Beach, Le Cote at Fontainebleau and Louis at the Gansevoort South.
Entourage’s Perrey Reeves (AKA “Mrs. Ari”) attended the kick-off party at the Raleigh and her sister-in-law, Marysia Reeves’s show. Cindy Taylor strutted her stuff on the catwalk at the inca 2010 cruise collection show at the W South Beach on Thursday night. Seen at W on Thursday and Friday for the Shay Todd show, Tara Reid, who didn’t mind the rain one bit. “It’s only water? What’s all the fuss about?” she said. After the show, she partied with her boyfriend, Michael Axtmann at the Wall.
Olivia Palermo and Whitney Port from The City attended Mara Hoffman’s show. Port was also front row at L Space and seen lounging by the W pool on Monday. Donald and Lisa Pliner enjoyed Red Carter’s show on Friday.
Burn Notice star Jeffrey Donovan was seated first row at Ed Hardy and later seen drinking Patron shots out of champagne flutes at the Mercedes Benz Star Lounge. Bravo’s ubiquitous Real Housewives, Kelly Killoren Bensimon (New York) and Dina Manzo (New Jersey) were all over the place. Bensimon attended the kick-off party at the Raleigh Hotel on Wednesday, Caviar Kaspia at The Webster on Thursday, the Wall on Saturday and numerous shows. She was also seen at the Mercedes Benz Star Lounge. Manzo followed suit attending many shows and hanging in the Star Lounge with her daughter.
Hotelier Andre Balazs was front row at the L Space show and hit the Wall at the W South Beach on Saturday. Artist, Romero Britto, director, Michael Bay, and rapper, Lil’ Jon, also took in shows during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim.
At the Living Room on Saturday, Belkys Nerey celebrated her birthday alongside good friend, Marysol Patton. Supermodels, Angela Lindvall, Erin Wasson and Nicole Trunfio were seen at the Standard throughout the weekend. Andy Roddick’s wife, model Brooklyn Decker, attended a few shows and had brunch at Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian Sunday afternoon. Lennox Lewis dined late along with a group of 15 at Smith & Wollensky. Latin Pop Star, Elvis Crespo and starting third baseman for the Florida Marlins and 2007 World Series MVP, Mike Lowell attended the smash-hit show, Fuerza Bruta, as did Miami Heat Coach Eric Spoelstra over the weekend.
By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore
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