“The bikini is the most important thing since the atomic bomb,” said legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Though she was known for fanciful statements that were prone to exaggeration; this one isn’t too far off. Bikinins, maillots and other kinds of swimwear are certainly an all-important garment that everyone has in their closets. They are the prescribed pieces of clothing to wear on the beach or pool. And come the dog days of summer, one would be remiss to not be frolicking or reclining by a body of water. More importantly, they revolutionized fashion, freeing up the body with an explosion of skin. So yes, in terms of fashion, they are as close to the atomic bomb as it gets. And just like a nuclear warhead (ok, maybe this one is a stretch), constructing a swimsuit takes precision and careful thought process. The cut of the bra, the length of the thong or the amount of ruching on the bodice can alter a swimsuit drastically. Unlike other fashion staples (i.e. the LBD, drop earrings and fitted jeans), they aren’t so accommodating or forgiving. Swimsuits are the most revealing articles of clothing that one can own, and every style and silhouette looks different, depending on one’s body type. These are all characteristics the best swimwear brands keep in mind when they roll out new collections. And seeing how Miami Swim Week just wrapped up—and how you’re probably hitting the beach this weekend—we are highlighting five labels that you need to keep on your radar. And you don’t need to be fashion editor or a rocket scientist to see why.
LISA MARIE FERNANDEZ
Lisa Marie Fernandez’s designs are often copied but, as she will tell you, nothing ever matches the original. Indeed, the one-time fashion editor and stylist has built a brand that brings a newfound dynamism to the industry. She popularized the use of cap sleeves, neoprene, ruffles and bows. Kitschy as that may sound; there is elegance engrained in all her pieces. She balances cutting-edge ornaments with streamlined silhouettes swimmingly—which is probably why many try to emulate her distinct style.
Photo: Lisa Marie Fernandez
SOLID & STRIPED
Solid & Striped definitely takes its name seriously. With collections comprised of bold single-tone colors and, well, stripes, the swimwear brand founded by Isaac Ross has an athletic element to it. To whit: the sex appeal that they exude is more sportswear-inspired than salacious. And though the track-and-field motifs (zippers, razorbacks, racing stripes etc.) ride high, it also doesn’t limit itself to this alone. Over the seasons, it has introduced polka dots, frills and tuxedo-inspired styles—but with an activewear bent, of course.
Photo: Solid & Striped
Much like Solid & Striped, Cardo Paris also encapsulates a sportswear vibe—but, in this case, much more so. Its founder Emmanuelle Cadosi is a former swimmer and aquatic gymnast, which is why the brand makes sure that its collections are built to perform. The range of one-pieces and swim caps is made of bamboo fibers that sculpt the body and can withstand ample wear and tear. This has made the brand a go-to for professional divers and swimmers, including the French synchronized swimming champions. But for the novices among us, they simply look really good and almost feel like second skin
Photo: Cardo Paris
LAUREN LAYNE SWIM
Lauren Layne knows a thing or two of looking good in swimsuit. She is, after all, an in-demand model who has graced countless spreads and covers—including this one! So, when she founded her own line, she zoned in on creating styles that riffed on the decade of excess, the one when supermodels reigned supreme. “We focus on the fit, fashion, and that 80’s retro style we all love,” she says. “Whether you’re laying out or being active, Lauren Layne Swim has the perfect swimsuit to make you feel confident and sexy."
Photo: Lauren Layne Swim
Founded by high school pals Megan Balch and Jaime Barker, Flagpole Swim is a line that celebrates the chic American lifestyle—think: New-England-preppy (seersucker and pastel hues) and with a sprinkling of New-York-cool-girl (cutouts and sporty patterns). The collections that the duo presents are fun, vivacious and, at its core, very pretty. Recently, they are noted for bringing back the long-sleeved top. You know, for those of us whose arms sag instead of bulge.
Photo: Flagpole Swim