This week, Miami Swim Week wrapped up another season; and, for the second year in a row, without previous organizer IMG. Though the company promised last year that it would return, officials reneged on that position about a month before this year’s event, refusing to come back in any official capacity. The niche fashion week, set around the largest trade show for swimwear globally, went on, as press and buyers flocked to Florida and brands pressed on with their plans. Here is everything you need to know about the six-day event, in case you were too busy catching up on one of the many other recent political and cultural events that were a lot more newsworthy.
It was all about the parties.
As with last year, the runway shows were mired with conflict. Organizations like Dive, Funkshion and LDJ (IMG’s production partner) brought their own lineup of events while other brands like Camilla and Monica Hansen went off schedule and hosted their own events independently. Even glossies like Glamour and Treats! hosted poolside bungalows and lounges while The Coveteur, Fat Jew and event producers like YesJulz hosted parties.
By far, the parties and dinners stole the spotlight. While runway shows could be up to an hour and a half late and promised only about 15 minutes of action for the wait (and possible travel through rain) YesJulz’s Best Day Ever and MatchesFashion.com’s dinner gave the most benefit for time — although seeing the actual swimwear might not have been an option.
One pieces are here to stay.
With runway shows and presentations all over South Beach as well as trade shows like SwimShow, Cabana and Hammock held in a convention center, tents and the W Hotel respectively, there was a lot of swimwear to get through. But, like with any other fashion week, the trends are the takeaway that will dictate next year’s buying habits. The big winner this year: one-pieces.
“One pieces had a major comeback this year in many different forms,” said Katharine Newman who works at Bikini.com “It seems as though the swimwear industry is embracing one pieces more and more every year. This year we saw a beautiful collection of one pieces with added details like cutouts, mesh panels, lace-up sides and the majority of them were giving off major 'Baywatch' vibes.”
Natalie Kingham, the buying director at MatchesFashion.com echoed Newman’s sentiments: “They provide a sleek, sexy look to suit all body shapes and can give structure and confidence to women who are self-conscious of their stomachs.” Brands who indulged in one pieces included Draya Michele’s Mint which boasted a nude one piece with sculptural cutouts. Nude suits were also a big trend this year with other options at brands like Vitamin A and more. San Lorenzo kept the one-piece emphasis going with its zebra- and tiger-printed suit featuring a low, scooped back; while a one-piece option from Lee + Lani sought to desexualize the female form by presenting one breast exposed.
New brands to know.
Every year, fashion weeks see a crush of new brands vying for attention on the schedule, and we now have a couple of new swim lines on our radar. Brittany Kozerski, the senior fashion market editor at Marie Claire, quietly launched her swim label Jade at the Cabana trade show. She discussed the line over appetizers at the MatchesFashion.com dinner confessing that she took on the project during an already busy time in her life but figured that it was “now or never.” The name itself comes from the stone and speaks to how seemingly simple things can be complex. To wit, the line is full of simple, silhouette-driven pieces that include body-shaping fabric to smooth away imperfections.
Another label launched by an industry vet was Monica Hansen. A former model, Hansen sat out market in Miami and will instead present during Swim Collective in California. Last week, she hosted a brunch in addition to partnering with other companies on various activations, including the above Fat Jew party, to get the word out about her line, which features made-in-Italy pieces that reference '70s hippies and Studio 54. She hopes to bring her namesake line to Cabana and the Miami runway next year after expanding it to a full beach range.
Outside of those two, For Love and Lemons' swimwear debut was a hot-ticket show. “The collection demonstrated all of the major trends we have been seeing this season in swimwear: high-cut one pieces, cutouts, lace, bridal and neutral tones," Newman said of the label. Designers Laura Hall and Gillian Rose Kern nodded to the French Riviera in the '60s and Brigitte Bardot’s iconic style.
The swim industry will press on going to Miami regardless of whether or not IMG decides to return, though sources close to the company say that it has an evolving interest in the city. And with the city's increasing relevance in luxury fashion, we have no doubt that there will be a continued effort to host runway shows there.
The problem: until the production companies decide to band together and sync schedules, compiling one comprehensive listing with as few conflicts as possible, the shows won’t get the credit they deserve. Having lost the anchoring power of Mara Hoffman this season, multiple press and buyers contacted for this story said that while the market events were crucial, attending the runway shows wasn’t worth it. The swim category is much too small for the division.
And when given the chance to sit at a poorly attended runway show or head to a Mara Hoffman-hosted barbecue, most are going to choose the latter.