LOS ANGELES--I really love my job.
I'm writing at the desk in my room at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, watching people gather around Mann's Chinese Theater. Later on, I'll be heading down to the Tropicana Pool to get my requisite 15 minutes of daily sun while I schedule this weekend's stories. Life isn't too bad. Not at all.
The occasion? I've been here since Wednesday to celebrate/cover the Volcom swim show, which took place last night at the Cooper Design Space in downtown LA.
I was thrilled to be invited on this trip. Not only because it's an excuse to get out of the office and visit a few West Coast friends, but it was also the perfect opportunity to learn more about the swimwear industry. Swimsuits are an ultra-lucrative category because they're easy to construct, inexpensive to produce, and people tend to buy one or two new ones each year. Indeed, the influence and value of Mercedes-Benz Miami Swim Fashion Week--which is taking place right now--has increased exponentially over the last few years.
The other great thing about the swimwear industry is that each brand only hosts one runway show per year, which means it's much easier for buyers to work with the brands on styles and additional orders.
But back to the matter at hand. Volcom, traditionally a skate and surf brand, has upped its female fashion offerings over the last couple of years, and that includes a prominent swimwear collection. It's designed by the super-sweet, super-chic Carrie Martines, who I had a chance to meet and chat with a bit after the show last night. "This season, we definitely paid extra attention to prints," she told me. It was well worth it. I really loved the spacey print and the tie-dyed print, and there was a cover up in the former that I would most positively wear as a dress.
Certain one-of-a-kind looks--a bandeau made out of colored rope, for instance--were styled by Volcom collaborator Jennifer Herrema. The rock star has been designing a denim collection for the brand for a couple of seasons, and she put her favorite model in a pair of the cut-offs. Herrema's got a great sense of style, and it's reflected in her work with Volcom. I spent the afternoon shopping at the brand's LA store, and pretty much the first thing I noticed were Herrema's patchwork jeans. For holiday, the collection includes grey denim patched with leather, which sounds pretty amazing to me.
But again, I digress. You know what was so great about the show? The suits were actually appealing. They didn't look like the typical bandeaus and maillots and string bikinis you find at most specialty retailers and department stores. They looked special, and the girls modeling them looked happy to be wearing them. (By the way, these models were awesome. They were beautiful, tall, glamazons, but not achingly skinny. It was so refreshing to see a girl with a bit of meat walking a show, and not just for spectacle.)
Teen Vogue's Andrew Bevan, who also attended the festivities, says he's been wearing clothes from skate and surf brands for years--not only are they affordable, but they're cool. Yesterday at the store, I scooped up an great-looking burnout fleece sweatshirt and a pair of high-waisted flouncy shorts. I've would have wanted to this stuff if it was on the rack at Barneys, I just mightn't have wanted to fork down quadruple the cash.
Here are some snapshots from the show, which will hopefully get you excited to buy a new bathing suit. Wish you were here! xo, Lauren