By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore
Fans of sun, skin and designer swimsuits delighted in five days of fabulous fun and fashion during this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim (MBFWS) which took place at the iconic Raleigh Hotel from July 19-July 23.Showcasing the collections of designers including: Vitamin A by Amahlia Stevens, Lisa Blue, Éclairée, Agua Bendita, Poko Pano, Dolores Cortés, Nicolita, Kooey Australia, Caffé Swimwear, Aqua Di Lara, Mara Hoffman Swim, Xtra Life Lycra® Brand, Cia.Marítima, BCBG Swimwear, Gottex, Red Carter, L*Space by Monica Wise, White Sands Australia, Luli Fama, Suboo, Rose By Vanessa Jean, Wildfox Swim, Ank By Mirla Sabino, Aguaclara, Aquarella Swimwear, Cote D’or Swimwear, Sauvage, A.Z Araujo, Anna Kosturova, Dorit, Keva | J And Naïla in two different tents and in the Raleigh penthouse, the styles heated up an already scorching summer. Because we can’t possibly fit all of this “fabulocity” into one issue, we’ve decided to highlight our favorites in two separate editions of the 411.
Vitamin A by Amahlia Stevens
Vitamin A by Amahlia Stevens, the brand often referred to as the “LBD, little black dress” of swimwear and known for effortlessly chic bikinis and cover-ups, received the distinction of being named “Mercedes-Benz Presents” designer. Vitamin A joins a distinguished list of designers who demonstrate dedication to the use of quality materials, unique style and innovative design. In the past “Mercedes-Benz Presents” has honored: Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Red Carter, Monique Lhuillier, Badgley Mischka, Trina Turk, Narciso Rodriguez, Naeem Khan, L*Space by Monica Wise and LUXE by Lisa Vogel.
The show, which was held on Friday night, showcased Stevens’ “California Cut” design, which has evolved into a full resort wardrobe of swimwear separates. The laidback luxe pieces were a combination of minimalist 70’s designs and included cover-ups that were stylish enough to wear even off the beach.
“Vitamin A by Amahlia Stevens joins the ranks of many prestigious Mercedes-Benz Presents designers to showcase their talent in Miami, which continues to grow in popularity and esteem within the industry,” said Stephanie Zimmer, manager of brand experience marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA. “As a designer who grew up near the beach, Amahlia Stevens has authenticity in her designs, which are thoughtfully constructed to fit uniquely different than other bikinis on the market. There is a natural sexiness to her designs, and next to the all-new 2013 SL63 AMG convertible, we have the perfect combination for aficionados seeking sun, style and performance.”
“Mercedes-Benz is a symbol of elegance, quality, and high performance; and Vitamin A shares a similar vision of glamour and superior craftsmanship,” says Amahlia Stevens. “I am sincerely honored to have been selected as the Mercedes-Benz Presents designer for this season in Miami.”
One of the most highly anticipated shows of this year’s MBFWS was that of renowned swimwear designer, Miami’s own Red Carter, who marked his return to South Beach to re-launch his namesake collection and present Resort 2013, before a packed house on a stormy Sunday afternoon.
Set to tribal drumbeats, Carter’s gorgeous suits were modeled by beauties in asymmetric Go-Go girl wigs, and huge cone-shaped straw headpieces, accentuated by disco ball purses, necklaces, bangles- and fabulous shoes making the show almost as much about the accessories as about the bathing suits, which incidentally, repeatedly drew rounds of applause from the audience.
The show was inspired by the glitz and glamour of legendary night club Studio 54 in New York City, Carter’s new home, and bridged classic, sophisticated silhouettes with sexy cut-outs and bold patterns. Art deco bustiers and off-the-shoulder one-pieces in black and white were coupled with retro tube tops and flared pants as cover-ups. Bronze, black and blue tonal cut-out swimsuits in geometric patterns were “glitter bombed” as Studio 54 would have been on New Year’s Eve. To pay homage to the disco ball, Carter’s suits included foiled, psychedelic designs- one gold suit reminiscent of Princess Leia’s gold bikini, drew an ovation from the crowd.
To add some spice to the retro themed collection, Carter also infused Resort 13 with Aztec and animal prints, ruffles, bandage stripes and a rainbow of colors including orange, yellow, indigo and turquoise.
We asked Carter how he comes up with his original creative show presentations. “I work with an amazing creative team headed by Danny Santiago. We look at the collection and my inspiration and try to translate it onto the runway. All the details and the excitement come together with lighting and a great music team that mixes the show based on the collection’s mood. Throw in some of the top models of Miami and NYC and we are ready for a party. This season is a glitter disco bomb.”
Since launching his eponymous swimwear collection in 2004, Red Carter has taken the industry by storm. With the goal of transforming the collection into a true lifestyle brand, Red Carter recently relocated to New York City where he partnered with the prestigious Amerex Group.
At Mara Hoffman’s show on Friday night, tribal prints stood out as barefoot models with glistening skin, showed off their calf-length leaf tattoos. Hawaiian Tropic® Sun Care styled the skin of the runway models with new Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration lotion sunscreen giving the skin on display a healthy glow. Mara Hoffman shared the following: “My collaboration with Hawaiian Tropic was really a match made in heaven because I am always looking for a healthy, beautiful, moisturized skin on girls and on myself and really what is a better than beautiful skin with swimwear? So it was really perfect.”
More than 500 guests including fans, buyers and national media attended the show of veteran swimwear designer and Creative Director Monica Wise of popular contemporary swim brand L*Space. Weiss showcased her Spring/Summer 2013 collections of swimwear, unveiling the never-before-seen luxury one-pieces and mid-kinis, MAIO Swim by Monica Wise. The models were airbrushed in gold from head to toe, including their faces and lips, and had a metallic, glowing appearance.
Fans of the brand who sat front row included Joe and Melissa Gorga from Bravos’s Real Housewives of New Jersey and pop duo, L2.
Closing Capsule Show
On Monday, Miami celebrated the finale to swim week with a Closing Capsule Collection show featuring designers Dorit, Naila, Anna Kosturova and KEVA l J.
Swimwear brand Dorit set the stage for 2013 with its renowned fine Italian fabrics, reversible styles and exclusive handmade prints. Naïla debuted her women’s collection inspired by her French heritage along with her existing men’s and boy’s collections. We especially loved the mother/son matching suits, modeled by an adorable “mini Adonis” who lit up the tent with his dimples, smiling from ear to ear as he confidently strutted down the runway. Swimwear brand Keva l J, designed by Caribbean native Keva Johnson closed the show with her “Bohemian Rhapsody” collection.
Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge
Once again this year, the posh, 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.
Christina Milian relaxed in the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge on opening night, after the Lisa Blue show. She was having cocktails with her girls and snacking on passed hors d’oeurves. Former Apprentice champion, Sean Yazbeck, was also spotted in the Star Lounge.
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