After nearly a week of tented runway shows, poolside presentations and a massive trade show, the story of next year’s beach fashion has emerged. Tribal chic. Pops of neon. Animal and floral prints. And just about anything with a high waist hits the mark for the 2013 swim season.The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim extravaganza is staged each year in perfectly pitched, air-conditioned white tents on the grounds of the Raleigh Hotel, with a trade show nearby at the Miami Beach Convention Center and a smattering of smaller satellite shows. Collectively, it’s a preview of next year’s looks for the beaches and pools. The outlook: Expect a smart pastiche of bikinis and one-pieces, breezy print sundresses, caftans and lounge pants, and the predictable assortment of deconstructed and off-the-shoulder cover-ups that also make a splash on dry land. Sarongs had a nice presence, sans the ties, instead attached at the hips with belts and sashes.
Designers continued their love affair with color, going for printed florals and fauna, neons and deep hues, some shown in color blocking. Off-the-beaten-path fabrics such as velvet, mesh and exotic skins showed up as well. And, after several dazzling seasons, the popularity of rompers (mostly replaced by separates), thongs, tunics, overly chunky hardware and the unfortunate use of bedroom lace faded. The runways, more than ever, felt a shade more elegant and practical without losing a sense of fashion and fun.“The 2013 collection had a strong sense of newness. The swimsuits were wearable and chic,’’ said Sharon Graubard, senior vice president, Trend Analysis of Stylesight. “And Miami is the perfect place to show the collections, it’s a place where swim and resort is a way of life.”
The swimsuit industry — fueled in part by bikini-friendly places like Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America — has exploded into a $4.2 billion business. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim’s official lineup of 32 international designers, along with Salon Allure, based at the W Hotel, and Funkshion (which artfully erected its tent in Collins Park) drew thousands of brands and buyers, media, a few celebrities, those curious about how such tiny stretches of fabric can be made into beach couture and the fashionistas who knew better. Most every show generated long lines in the prevalent rain and merciless July heat. Thankfully, endless supplies of water and champagne were on hand. Each show was packed, with the occasional front-row celebrity, a throng of photographers and a booming soundtrack. Much like the electric crush of style that is Fashion Week in New York, other designers worked to capture the attention of the annual gathering, hosting events at equally stylish off-site haunts: Lila Nikole debuted her spring/summer 2013 collection at Bamboo Miami; the Brazilian Association of Fashion Designers delivered the latest looks from 17 labels poolside at the SLS Hotel South Beach.
Designer Tory Burch presented her 2013 resort collection at the Delano, the label’s first showing at Miami swim week. Inspired by a recent trip to the Amalfi Coast, where she was wowed by colorful tiles and bougainvillea, Burch turned to seafoam green, pink, purple and her signature navy. She also offered reversible styles.“We have been a lifestyle concept from day one, always including swim,” Burch said in an email. “We recently expanded our swim collection and felt it was the right time to show it in a more impactful way. Miami is an important market for us. It represents a younger group as well as international customers.”