Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Thrill of the Frill - Ruffled Swimsuits This Season

Frills, ruffles, flounces, whatever you want to call them, they're big this season.  The Aussies are coming on strong with sweet bikinis and one piece swimsuits that are enhanced with ruffles in every which way. 

Zimmermann Swimwear did a couple of ruffled bikinis in 2010 and most likely has plans to continue with this trend.

Kooey Swimwear also did a fabulous frilled collection. ...
Marysia Swim, from the US (Charleston, SC, to be exact,)  has a complete collection of, "Mommy & Me," swimsuits that are chicly covered in founces and frills.   
We love them all!  All of these labels will be showing in Miami next month.  You will most likely be finding them in our catalog this fall. 

~ C.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swimwear 2011 - Miami Shows

There is a new generation of swimwear designers hitting the shows.  Mavens and mavericks, setting out with their wares to impress the beach and resort world with their new take on what the modern swimsuit should look like.  I have to say...it's refreshing and it never ceases to amaze me with what they come up with, while working with so little. 

The Miami shows, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, held at the Raliegh, July 15-19th, and the Swimwear Assoc. of  Florida's Swim Show, at the Jackie Gleason Convention Center Hall, July 17-20th., are the big ticket events.  Alas...for personal reasons, I will not be there this season.   For this, I am sad.  I generally make the pilgrimage every year, but I may have to have to settle for "armchair sourcing" of the east coast vendors this season.  I won't be completely out of the loop, the west coast rep shows are always informative and loads of fun.  Plus, I get to see what the others miss and on a closer and more personal level...it's not all bad.  

The Swim Show is very well run and has booth, after booth, of swimwear vendors plying their wares.  There's anything from A to Z.  they usually have a "Pau Hana" cocktail reception at the end of the day and a very nice runway show featuring a couple of suits from each vendor.  Most major brands are represented there, but there are also some newcomers, which is why I like this show.  You never now what you'll find.

IMG Fashion is the organization behind the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim Show, held in the evenings, at the beautiful and historical hotel, the Raleigh.  Tents are set up around their curly-cue shaped pool, with several shows scheduled each night.  This is an "invitation only" event, with lots of Paparazzi, velvet ropes and bikini clad ticket takers.  It's all very glam.  This year, the MBFW show will feature designers from all over the world.  White Sands and Kooey Swimwear hail from Australia, Beach Bunny Swimwear and Tyler Rose are from California, Cia.Maritima and Aqua di Lara bring it from Brazil, Mara Hoffman from Europe, as well as a handful of other great swimwear creators such as Red Carter, Luli Fama and more.

And although I won't be there personally this year, I will have my spies to keep us all posted on what's happening in 2011.  You can always check our 2011 Swimwear Update page for details.  Good luck to all of the hard working designers and here's to 2011!

~ C.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Paris Hilton Surprises SPFW Guests as She Struts the Runway

OK, I really wasn't going to do the celeb thing, but I thought it was clever marketing to have Paris Hilton hit the runway,  surprising the guests at the Sao Paulo Fashion Week show SS 2011.  She was totally GLAMMMM and sexy with her Bridget Bardot hair flowing as she strutted her stuff for Triton.  (Great pix at MailOnline.)

~ C.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sao Paulo Fashion Week SS 2011 - Rosa Cha, Cia.Maritima

Alexandre Herchcovitch unveiled his latest swimwear collection for Rosa Cha, 2011 at the Spring/Summer 2011 Sao Paulo Fashion Week show last night.  Theme of show was "Anima" meaning animated, or lively.  He stayed true to the progressive Rosa Cha style, carrying through with more of  his lingerie and black trimmed, primary prints, from his previous collection presented last January.   Black, cream, florals, straps, mesh, high waist, structured bras, corsets, skirts and the swim dress were the structure points of the evening.

Benny Rosset, designer for Cia.Maritima Swimwear 2011 also presented last night. This year there was a wide use of shiny satins and a strong emphasis on the back and bum details.  Knots, bands, and slim cuts adorned the back sides.  Mr. Rosset did also an asymmetrical bikini in mauve print that was innovative, yet still wearable.  I also loved the wavy stripe, graphic print bikini with metal, slide trims at hips and bra straps.  I'll be sure to post a pic as soon as it becomes available. 

~ C.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Reminiscing of Swimsuits Past

I started selling swimsuits in 1995. It came out of a need to expand my hat, sandal and novelty neck tie business. (Tropi-Ties was originally named after a cooling neck bandanna that I sold.) Swimwear seemed to be the perfect thing to add to my beachy offerings. After all, I felt that I knew a thing or two about bikinis, having grown up wearing one almost 24/7. Back then, if I wasn’t in the pool, I was at the beach and if I wasn’t in one of those places, then I certainly had my swimsuit on under my clothes, just in case an opportunity presented itself to get into the water.

Back in the early ‘90s, bikinis bottoms were cut very scoopy, or V-cut, in front and high on the thigh, with coverage not unlike a diaper in back. The only bikini tops were the simple triangle, or underwire bra. The prints were loud and the solids were neons. There were 2 major markets in the U.S.; “Surf” and “Raunch.” Some of my more savvy bikini shoppers wore the super sexy Brazilian bikinis, such as the "Tanga," the "Rio,"and the "Thong," but only if they were a runway model, or very daring. Even then, those swimsuits were probably too risqué for the American beaches and family reunions. Fabrics were limited to very shiny, 2-way Spandex, and 4-way stretch Lycra and occasionally crochet knits. At this point, the average swimsuit consumer in this country had never heard of Microfiber, or Polyamide textiles.

Then, came the Brazilians. Vix, Salinas and Desiree Nercessian lead the way into the next century and the mainstream American market with their teeny tiny bikini bottoms, elongated halter tops and embellishments galore. The fabrics that they used were a tad heavier than their American counterparts, with a soft, matte finish. The new style of bikini bottoms epitomized the phrase, “less is more,” with backsides that barely covered the bum. The front top lines were low, short and straight. The halter top became the one and only choice of style, but the imaginative things that these Brazilian designers did with it were endless. The ties became short, the straps thin, there were stones, sequins, beads, leather and buckles, as well as other new, exciting trims. Swimsuits truly became works of art.

Around 2005, as the economic recession began to take hold and the Y Generation started settling down to a life of child rearing and domesticity. Swimsuit sales slowed and what did sell was more conservative. The tiny Brazilian bikini gave way to a more moderate coverage swimsuit. The Cut-Out 1 piece gained popularity because it covered the tummy, but was still had some allure. New fabrics were employed and trims became more sophisticated. The higher-end, luxurious swimsuits represented investments for women who still had some change in their expensive, designer bags. It was the age where it was all about which celebrity was wearing which designer bikini.

By 2008, the Brazilians still had a strong stake in the American swimwear world, but they began to lose their stronghold on the market, with new labels emerging from other countries, such as Columbia, Australia, Great Britain and the USA. Zimmermann from Australia, Mara Hoffman from Europe, Maaji and Agua Bendita from Columbia gave us a fresh look at the bikini and one piece swimsuit. The bandeau bikini became the new fashion shape on the beach and cute 1 pieces that catered to a younger customer started to show up in the look books. Engineered prints were everywhere, Cover-ups and beach frocks became the rage.

Now at the end of 2010 season and with the unveiling of 2011 designs, we see a batch of new designers emerging. Once again, these mavericks are taking another look at the swimsuit and creating new shapes and styles for yet another generation of beachgoers and vacationers. We’ll be seeing a bevy of designer looks from Australia, such as Zimmermann and Kooey, next year and some labels from Brazil, including Cia.Maritima, Rosa Cha and Lenny that were overshadowed in the Vix/Salinas heydays. I expect the unexpected in 2011…new takes on old swimsuit standbys. How will they reinvent the wheel? What will they think of next? We shall see.

~ C.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cia.Maritima Swimwear - Love the Look, Love the Price

If you consider yourself a savvy shopper and have not yet discovered Cia.Maritima Swimwear, then where the heck have you been?  Cia.Maritima (pronounced see-ah mar-ee-shee-ma) is a Brazilian swimwear line that has been making its way into the US market. Launched in 1990 and designed by Benny Rosset, a family member of one of the largest garment manufacturers in South America, the Rosset Group.  Cia.Maritima is reportedly the biggest producer of beachwear in Brazil.

Cia.Maritima made their U. S. debut in New York at Olympus Fashion Week in 2006.  More recently, the CM 2010 line hit the runway again at the Mercedes-Benz Swim Show in Miami.  What's so nice about this line is that Mr. Rosset's style is high glam, but without the high end designer price tag, with their 2010 bikinis starting at just $89 retail. 

The look is elegant and sexy, with lots of matching cover-ups and beach frocks. The fit is very good, tailored for the American market. The price is certainly right.

Pisces Cover-Up by Cia.Maritima - $159
I'll keep you posted on what Cia.Maritima brings us for 2011.
~ C.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Melissa Odabash Swimwear 2010 - Class & Fun Rolled Into One

Melissa Odabash Swimwear is another one of those classic swimsuit lines that always looks timeless and tasteful, yet still has a touch of fun flirtiness about it. Miss Odabash started her own swimwear line after modeling swimsuits in Italy that were not exactly to her liking. She created her own bathing suits, took them to the shops of Milan and they immediately caught on. She later opened her own store in London where she sells a variety of her beachwear styles and accessories.

Her look is simple and refined and in a word, “refreshing.” The quality of an MO swimsuit is impeccable, employing only the best of fabrics and trims. All of her patterns and designs have comfort in mind. Melissa Odabash exclusively uses a special twisted elastic support that is sewn into her bra tops, Instead of the more traditional under-wires that most other manufacturers use.

This year the look for MO is cool and calm. The Luxor Bikini is a simple, black bandeau that is spiced up with a thick, chunky chain detail. The Sienna One Piece Swimsuit is polished and clean, with graceful lines and a design sense that will get you through more than one summer. Of course, that’s what Melissa Odabash Swimwear is all about…enduring elegance.

~ C.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Karla Colletto Swimwear - Timeless

Let's face it, not all of us are looking for the tiniest of bikinis.  One piece swimsuits are beautiful, comfortable to swim in, and yes, even sexy.  U.S. "East Coaster," Karla Colletto, along with her sister and business partner, Lisa, have been creating innovative and high styled swimsuits for several decades, never becoming stale or boring. 

Their use of new and modern textiles and creative manufacturing techniques keeps them ahead of the game and always fashion forward, while maintaining a high degree of quality and workmanship.  All of their swimsuits are made to order from their production line in Virginia, assuring that each bathing suit gets the proper attention that their customer deserves.

Karla Colletto swimsuits are not just known for their workmanship, but also for their fit.  Karla uses a special, hidden, floating underwire in many of her bras and bodices that give the swimsuit support and structure, while creating a smooth, sleek silhouette.  Each year, Karla Colletto Swimwear comes up with timeless designs that will last for several seasons. 

This year the line took on a slightly edgy look with ruching, cut-outs and strappy details.  One of my personal favorites is the Metallic Piping One Piece Swimsuit and it has been our biggest seller this year.  So, if you're looking for a fabulous one piece, trust me, Karla Colletto won't let you down.

~ C.

Metallic Piping One Piece Swimsuit by KC 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tyler Rose Swimwear

Ok...this stuff is too cute!  Tyler Rose Swimwear has a ton of attitude and designer, Nicole Carroll, brings it on strong with her Haute Indian Summer Spring 2010 collection.  These are 3 bikinis from the TRS line-up for 2010.

~ C.

Mixing It Up With Maaji Swimwear

Fun, fresh, young, clever...all words to describe Maaji Swimwear.  This emerging swimwear label from Columbia dishes up a rainbow of mixed prints combined with cute styling.  The fit is on the small side, it's really more in the Junior/Teen size group than the Missy category.  Maaji Swimwear was extremely popular at Tropi-Ties this year.  The 2010 swimsuits and bikinis from Maaji are almost sold out.  We can hardly wait to see what's in store for next year.  Look for updates on the 2011 Maaji Swimwear styles, coming soon.

~ C.

Invencible Dianthus Bikini - Maaji Swimwear

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sao Paulo Fashion Week SS 2011 - Swimwear

Sao Paulo Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2011, the premier event in Brazil and the swimwear world, will be taking place Tuesday, 06/08/01 through Monday, 06/14/10.  I'll b posting updates and reviews of some of the lines.

~ C.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Salinas Swimwear - We Still love it!

After all this time, I still love Salinas Swimwear.  Tropi-Ties began carrying the Salinas brand back in 1999.  We were the very first online retailers to stock their sweet, little bikinis.  I have to say, I wasn't really keen on carrying Salinas at first.  It seemed like it was just another one of many Brazilian bikini labels to have hit our shores during that time.  Shelly Scott, the rep for Salinas back then, politely and continually prodded me to stop by their booth at ASR.  One day I finally did.  I could not believe how cute the stuff was!  With lots of, "I told you so," comments coming from Shelly, I reviewed the line. There were unique bodies with loads of sex appeal, not to mention tiny bums, done up in fun colors and prints, with embroidery, sequins and other embellishments...just adorable!  I had not seen anything like it in the California surf market, or the entire US, for that matter.  The price point was great too.  Oddly enough, I was the only buyer in their booth that day.  It was hard to believe that the word had not yet gotten out about these fab Brazilian bikinis. Of course, that didn't last for long.  The following season the Salinas booth was twice the size and it was standing room only. 

Salinas quickly became our number one seller and really helped to build our own company.  It flew off the shelves as quickly as it came in.  Everyone, including our warehouse staff, could hardly wait to see the what the newest shipments revealed.  Every bikini was a surprise.  All of the people from Salinas were wonderful and business relationships were good and strong.  Salinas was now distributed everywhere in the US, including major department stores, surf shops and online retailers.

But then came the economy.  Although all of us have struggled through these rough times, Salinas took it especially hard.  Sales slackened, their trusted distribution faltered and a new generation of swimsuit buyers, none savvy to this iconic brand, emerged.  The flow of merchandise slowed to a crawl and it looked like the end for them.  I reluctantly continued to carry their bikinis, partly because I felt a sense of loyalty, partly out of hope that they would return to their former glory.  They toughed it out and kept the brand going.

As the economy comes out of this recession, we're now seeing a change for the better for Salinas.  The designs are fresh and sassy and with new US distributors, the merchandise flow is making headway again. Young women are rediscovering Salinas Swimwear and sales are coming back.  The new 2011 Salinas bikinis are cuter than ever and we expect strong sales for this brand next season. I am confident that they will make a full recovery and be back even better than ever.

~ C.