Bikinis are back

Head to the gym for crunches — the bikini is back in a big way.

Models walk down the runway during the Luli Fama show at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2011 in Miami Beach

Models walk down the runway during the Luli Fama show at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2011 in Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Head to the gym for crunches — the bikini is back in a big way.

Designers from all over the world showed their new swimwear collections during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2011, which ended Monday night.

Bikinis and cutout one-pieces dominated the catwalks. Some designers said they focused on bikinis because of the bottom line: They sell better. Others aimed for sexiness.

But can any figure wear them?

“I think it’s not about age. It’s not about your body,” said Luli Fama designer Lourdes (Luli) Hanimian.

“While you feel good and it makes you feel happy, you wear that swimsuit.”

Gold, hot pink and turquoise were the popular colours. Gold hardware was used as embellishments in many collections. Designers also sent models down the runway accessorizing the suits with large, chunky necklaces and bracelets.

“Gold is definitely a trend. All the sparkling is really happening,” she said.


Mara Hoffman’s swimsuits — mostly bikinis — were a kaleidoscope of colour, including red, turquoise and neon yellow. She used prints including a psychedelic one and a geometric print that had images of an eye and a pyramid.

“I definitely carried again the inspiration of the mystic journey. It’s sort of my continual inspiration,” she said.

A tight, turquoise minidress had hot pink, lime green and orange with an eye inside a pyramid and black straps on the back. A black one-piece had black crisscrossing straps around the stomach area.

A black cutout had embroidery in the middle. A turquoise bustier top had neon yellow, hot pink and white geometric designs around the edges of the cups and sides of the bottoms. There was also a striking multicoloured caftan for a “high priestess ’70s mystic mama feeling,” she said. It looked like it would cover up flaws, but adding sexiness.

She also designed a wrap poncho coverup with Alternative Apparel. As well, there was a dramatic high-waisted bikini with lattice detailing on the sides of the bottoms.


Swimwear Anywhere Inc. showed several of the lines it has licences for, including Marc by Marc Jacobs, DKNY and Juicy Couture.

For Jacobs, they showed a half-pink, half-blue bandeau top and bottom bikini and a blue bikini bustier with a matching skirted bottom. A model also wore a blue and pink geometric print one-shouldered piece.

For DKNY, a model wore a strapless blue-and-white maillot on a black background. There was also a beige, black and brown stripped maillot. Juicy Couture had several ruffled or skirted bottoms. A little girl also modelled the children’s line with a yellow bikini.

Carmen Marc Valvo also launched his resort wear. The theme was safari, and shapes included halter jumpsuits, dresses and cargo pants.


True Religion stayed true to jeans. A model walked down the runway in a jean one-piece that had slashes in it. Just like jean pants, the suit gets a more washed-out with every washing.

A jean bustier was worn with bikini briefs with a brown trim. There was a black bikini with gold studs. Another black bikini had hardware on it. An olive-green triangle bikini top was paired with short-short bottoms of the same colour.

All the models were barefoot, and many wore scarves in their hair, hippie style. The vibe? Brigitte Bardot.


Miami-based Red Carter said his theme was “from pop art to high art.” And he staged his show at the Bass Museum of Art in South Beach, where models walked down the ramp that connects the floors. Before the show, he had a retrospective of his work where models posed on giant white cubes placed among the art works.

“I am trying to show the expressions of what people in pop culture are wearing these days but then also take risks and hopefully look artful,” Carter said.

A black cutout one-piece was accessorized with silver and hot pink chunky bracelets. A model wore a translucent breastplate over a pink and white bikini. There was a neon studded bikini and a one-piece with the British flag on it, which looked stylish, but also comfortable. A newspaper-print bikini embellished with black accents, adding a little charm to it.

Carter also sent models down the runway in tulle capelets and skirts for effect.


At Cia Maritima there were lots of animal prints, including crocodile and tiger. The colour palette was mostly yellow, purple, light blue, brown and white.

A cream and brown palm leaf print bikini and matching coverup were paired with a multicoloured chunky necklace and bracelets. A model wore a long yellow dress with a turquoise necklace. An orange and purple tie-dye top had silver beads around the neckline. A gold sparkly bikini was worn on top of purple harem pants.

Rosset said he was inspired by Morocco, but he focused on bikinis because of Brazil.

“In our country, in our culture, we wear more bikinis,” he said.


Hot pink and turquoise were big trends at Miami-based Luli Fama’s show, as were bikinis and cutout one-pieces. An orange bandeau bikini was embellished with a gold starfish-shaped jewel. A turquoise one-piece cutout had a gold studded trim in the front. A multicoloured triangle bikini also had gold hardware. For coverage, there was a turquoise minidress with a sea pattern with starfish and sea urchins.

The bikinis came in all colours and styles: a hot pink bandeau bikini was decorated with a big bow on the chest and smaller one on the bottoms, a red bikini was embellished with a gold seashell in the chest area and one on the bottoms. There was also a gold studded bikini and another with a purple and white gingham pattern.


The Nicolita show was an homage to Cuba. Cuban-American Nicole Di Rocco went back to Cuba and filmed a documentary. So, the trip influenced her collection.

“I have been able to develop the brand as well as develop my life and my personal journey,” she said.

A photograph of a mojito taken in Cuba was made into a custom print that was put on to fabric and turned into a one-shouldered one-piece. There were lots of polka dots and braiding, and some models were sent down the runway with detached sleeves that were meant “to give a feeling of a night at the Tropicana,” she said.

A black bikini with black and white stripes on top was paired with polka-dot bottoms and black, white and yellow sleeves, which created a little va-va-voom.


At Marysia Swim it was a 1940s retro feel, with high-waisted bikinis that unbutton and can be folded down to avoid bad tan lines. Maria Dobrzanska Reeves was inspired by a dream vacation to Fiji and she used a fabric that reminded her of Fijian thatched roofs.

She used soft colours like rose, sand, seafoam, seaweed and some black details. As for shapes, they included boy shorts, string bikinis and one-pieces. There was a scarf-like dress and a pink and white bikini had a bustier top.

All the styles were very lady-like, which is a nice alternative to the vixen looks that were shown at other shows.

Models wore cone-like Asian hats and drummers played music as they walked down the catwalk.


These four lines showed together. For Lisa Blue, aboriginal paintings were used to make prints for bikinis. Models also walked down the runway in tribal paint. There were swimsuits with Renaissance art work on them like Sandro Botticelli’s Venus, while some bikinis had lace embellishment.

Aquarella showed a green peacock print coverup with a matching belt. And there was a coral bikini with black straps and bows on the sides. Coral, blue and pink were prevalent on the runway as were bikinis and monokinis.

Kooey had an Aboriginal artist draw all the prints. Oranges, purples, pinks, blues were major colours. The line also had traditional Aboriginal dot prints, stripes and swirls. Like an orange bandeau swirled bikini that was meant to look like sand swirling in the desert.

At Lisa Maree, the crochet bikinis and one-pieces were sexy. A gold mesh tank top with brown knit bottoms was paired with a safety pin-like necklace worn around the shoulders.