What’s Hotter Than a Scorching July in Miami? Swim Week!
By Daisy Cabrera
Taking place in the nation’s year-round bikini capital, and considered one of the leading platforms to showcase the latest fashion trends in swim and resort-wear – Swim Week brought together droves of fashionistas, tastemakers, stylists, established and emerging designers, models, jetsetters, retail buyers, socialites, influencers, media, bloggers, photographers, artists and celebrities.
Naturally, the Insta-worthy festivities overflowed with runway presentations, state-of-art tents and lounges, luxurious pampering, shopping galore, ultra cool pop-up stores, swank satellite venues, live entertainment, coveted swag, fun activations, after parties, exclusive trade shows, and more. It was a sweltering soirée of top lifestyle brands and industry leaders in fashion, beauty and wellness courting the crowds.
Paraiso Miami Beach, which officially took over Miami Swim Week, celebrated its second year with plenty of great programming. “It was incredible to see so many new and familiar faces attending over 45 events at Paraiso Miami Beach. Growing the platform into a consumer-driven festival was just the first step in the right direction, that fused a new lifestyle component to the swim and resort-wear industries,” said Aleksander Stojanovic, co-founder of Paraiso Miami Beach. “Our runway shows represented a new standard in both, beauty and guest experience.”
The boutique Art Deco gem, Lennox Hotel opened its doors exclusively to Paraiso’s official kick-off party… and what a party it was! More than 500 guests, dressed to the nines, indulged in several open bars sprinkled throughout. Acrobats poured sparkly bubbly, the cover band Brothers of Others jammed, delicious food bites made the rounds, and DJ Lunna spun fabulous tunes.
There was an abundance of noteworthy activations to indulge in. Izipizi x Sunny Life’s pool party at the historic Plymouth hotel was all about soaking up the glorious sun, checking out eyewear, playing with fun pool floats, idolizing the synchronized swimmers, and enjoying endless frosé and piña coladas. Ahhh!
Over in Collins Park, the pop-up experience - Destination: Ipsy - was a beauty lover’s idea of heaven! During its very first appearance at Paraiso and set under the bright blue skies, the delightful open-to-the-public event treated attendees to photo opportunities, mini-makeovers, and loads of product samples.
Guests cooled off in the iconic W South Beach’s grassy area (AKA Great Lawn) complete with striped lounge chairs, pink flamingoes, swaying palm trees, and craft cocktails courtesy of Legend’s spirits. The punchy Duke Mule served up Duke bourbon, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, ginger beer and mint leaves. And, the spicy La Adelita Blanco Beach mixed La Adelita Blanco Tequila, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and jalapeño. Cheers!
Did someone say pampering? Oh-la-la! Yanbal hosted a private VIP gifting suite and make-overs at the Lennox Hotel. Daniela Yanbal shared that their products are created in Ft. Lauderdale, and the collection includes fine jewelry, a premium make-up line, high quality skincare and handcrafted French fragrance. Founded 52 years ago in Peru, the global brand is now sold across 10 countries (including Spain and Italy) and is a market leader in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. Guests received a box full of goodies. With DJ Bec Adams on the wheels of steel, the event also featured two drinks: Yanbal Spirit (prosecco, aperol, soda water and orange slice) and Bendito Paraiso (white rum, fresh mint, simple syrup, blood orange and juicy lime).
As one would expect – there was plenty of shopping to be had! Tucked away in the Riviera South Beach, the DC Miami Swim Lounge pop-up presented an array of creative designers, artisanal handmade goods, live art and happy hour to boot! Colombian designer Sofia Amadi of Mare Dolce, who collaborates with Wayuu tribes, displayed intricately woven purses in vibrant colors that were just stunning. Rock and Candy, based in The Falls, carried the well-known Tous and Uno de 50 brands as well as Latin American talent: colorful Meche Correa clutches and spectacular horn jewelry, Cristina Ramella cuffs and bangles, show-stopping platforms and slides by Jessica Butrich. Agwe, which means God of the fisherman and sea, showcased a colorful swimwear collection inspired by Haiti’s tropical environment in bright and muted hues alongside stylish tasseled purses. Laila Jewayni of Äyna jewelry featured the brand works with underrepresented Senegalese artisans to create unique, timeless and intricate sterling silver and gem stone pieces. Truly conversation pieces, the collection included stud earrings, open triangle earrings, bracelets, pyramid rings, Tuareg pendants, cuffs, chokers and more.
Now the Paraiso Bungalow was an oceanfront, two floor oasis of all things fashion and food. The ground level retail space was wall-to-wall shopping. Olivela was a plethora of luxury with Mercedes Salazar woven handbags, Alexandre Birman sandals, and Alepel hand-painted mules. Drool! The brand, known for supporting children’s charities, partnered with Paraiso to donate 20% of onsite proceeds to our beloved PAMM in support of free admission for public school kids. The active lifestyle brand, Aloha Collection was all about stylish travel! Created by surfer/flight attendant Rachael Leina'ala and Kaua’i native Heather Aiu, there were SO many inspired and totally cute items: pouches, day trippers, hip bags, duffle bags, and zipper totes – all made of coated Tyvek to keep them splash-proof. Chopard rolled out elegant timepieces while plenty of Day Owl's dazzling rosé from California was served to guests. The eco-friendly, high quality Tropic of C’s swimwear line was diverse - animal print bikini tops, sports-focused bottoms, sexy open back one pieces. Just when it couldn’t get any better, Wynwood’s Cielito Artisan Pops was in the house offering a wide range of flavors made with locally sourced ingredients - including creamy cookies and cream, and fruity parfait. Hungry patrons ventured to the terrace where our very own Chef Brad Kilgore (five-time James Beard Award semifinalist) dished out light brunch and dinner fare much to our delight.
So much swimwear, so little time! Paraiso’s Upcycle Challenge was a competition among student designers from across the country to create original, sustainable pieces from dead stock fabrics. Miami International University of Art & Design student Raquel Zerbib transformed a lamp shade into a bracelet bag, a gardening bucket into a handle bag, and created outstanding wearable art. Her sample collection was inspired (with mentor with Vitamin A) by a clean beach free of pollutants, the fabric’s textures, and the brand’s minimalist aesthetic. “I tried to combine all these elements and integrate them with the fact that with small efforts we can all create a big change in the world, no matter what cause we are supporting. This message was represented within the two cover-ups - one with a quote on the back that says ‘Think Globally, Act locally’ and the other one was a skirt made from 600 swatches of leftovers representing those little efforts.” Another Miami International University of Art & Design student (and creator of the Wuari brand), Patricia Camacho worked alongside Maaji. “Being selected as a top finalist is an honor and an outstanding accomplishment as an upcoming fashion designer. To have been chosen among other talented students reinforces my commitment to creatively and responsibly contribute to the fashion industry in a manner that favors the greater good and the planet.”
Paraiso’s Runway Tent pitched in Collins Park was also home to a variety of installations, including Acqua di Parma and Dior. Ipsy handed out product samples while Foster Grant celebrated its 90th anniversary with a photo booth and display of signature aviators, cat eye glasses and other must-have eyewear. JNSQ Wines’ poured grenache-forward Rosé Cru (in a lovely silhouette of a bottle complete with gorgeous rose stopper) and crisp and clean Sauvignon Blanc that was pure mouth-watering citrus. Crook & Marker also handed out spiked, sugar-free, sparkling beverages in refreshing flavors such as grapefruit, coconut pineapple and blackberry lime.
Over at The Setai, Fashion Palette’s runway was on fire! The international platform, which has showcased at New York Fashion Week since 2012, featured a diverse line-up of Australian swim designers with equally diverse collections: from Lil and Emm, VDM the Label and Vincija Swimwear to Sage Swim and Sonya Swim. TJ Swim was all about neon, Lahana Swim was all about leopard, and Nookie Beach was all about vinyl lacquer. Round of applause!
Meanwhile, the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel hosted several shows for Planet Fashion TV before a packed house. The super cool and laid-back Playboy x Sean John’s summer collection for men included basic whites and pastels, color-block graphic and collage t-shirts, printed polos and more - all stamped with the famous Playboy logo. Project Runway 2014 winner, Sean Kelly debuted his men’s swimwear line – Hercules – a collection of classic and low cuts, board and tailored shorts, Brazilian briefs and sexy studs all in a mix of bold colors and animal prints.
Just in time for the upcoming cruise season, buyers and designers spanning the globe came together during Swim Week’s trade shows. The 37th annual SwimShow at the Miami Beach Convention Center, considered the world’s largest, joined over 7,500 brands and buyers from 60 different countries. The gigantic space included curated lifestyle collections across swimwear, beachwear, activewear, resortwear, accessories, men’s and children’s.
Top labels were present: Maaji, BCBG Max Azria Swim, Jessica Simpson, Jantzen, Vera Bradley, Trina Turk, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Bahama, Badgley Mischka, Uzzi, Body Glove, Vitamin A, florabella and tons more. Smaller designers also had the opportunity to share their unique pieces to buyers from mass retailers and department stores, designer boutiques and specialty stores, hotel and resorts, surf shops and more. In addition, SwimShow hosted various presentations including discussing swim market trends, new consumer spending habits, offering credit terms to retailers, financing growth and more.
The world-famous Nikki Beach (with its global beach clubs, hotels and resorts – including our beloved South Beach locale) displayed an inspired collection of hats and bags: suede Panama ranchers, crocheted jute totes, raffia boaters, fedoras, visors and more. Arte & Tejido’s beautiful line of Colombian mochilas, each taking up to ten days to make, are handmade by local master weavers and artisans in Chorrera, Atlántico. Guadalupe Design set up a boutique of artisanal findings: floor-length bohemian dresses, delicate cotton tunics, beaded cross-body purses, sequined clutches, embroidered sandals, handcrafted Wayuu hats, dazzling pouches, woven bucket bags, sparkling earrings, pashminas and pareos, and colorful espadrilles. Ipanema’s elevated and stylish designs for women, men, and children brought everything to the floor: funky prints, bright neons, sweet hearts, glittery sandals, animal prints, sexy studded t-straps, classic slip-ons, muted flip-flops, chic platforms – something for everyone.
Luli Fama has been participating in SwimShow for the last ten years. The brand’s swim, active and resort wear can be found online as well as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Everything But Water, Revolve, Zappos and other retailers. Celebrity fans include Beyoncé, Jennifer Aniston, Shakira, Kate Hudson, Adriana Lima, Bar Rafaeli, and others. Their Electric Jungle collection – fun, energetic and full of zest - mixed neon pinks, yellow and orange with stripes and exotic animal prints. Based in Atlanta, the women-led Oka-B creates fashion-forward shoes (simple and embellished ballet flats, flip flops, slide sandals) that are comfortable, sustainable, durable, machine washable, dishwasher safe, and slip and water resistant. With coral as the color of the year, the brand is sold online and in hotel boutique stores nationwide (think Marriott, Hyatt, Westin, etc.) Since 1979, OFFCORSS from Medellín offers dynamic, playful and irreverent kid’s swimwear – from newborn to teenagers. Many of the designs are reversible and have 3D details, while all are colorful and bold prints that shine as bright as the sun. Using fabric with UV protection, the creations range from one pieces with ruffles, kimono dresses, swim caps, long sleeve tankinis, bikinis, floppy hats, and reversible bucket hats to tank tops, swim trunks, short sleeve shirts,
Also held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Cabana & Capsule was a more intimate trade show environment, offering a curated environment inspired by Bali and with a focus on sustainability. Plenty of onsite activations were enjoyed including hair braiding, open rosé wine and rum bars, express manicures and pedicures, fresh coconuts, t-shirt printing, cigar rolling, and more.
Corkcicle, the official hydration partner, provided attendees with chic gunmetal colored, triple-insulated canteens. Based in Orlando, they partnered with the trade show because it fit the brand’s aesthetic. The beautiful display included affordable tumblers and canteens showcasing Jean-Michel Basquiat’s signature art, old fashioned whiskey glasses with cigar rests, stemless floral wine cups, state-of-the-art aerator for chilling wine, metallic champagne flutes, brightly colored coffee mugs, double zipper lunch bags, striped insulated totes, pastel bucket bags with padded backpack straps, and lightweight duffle bags that double as insulated coolers. The brand is loved by Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Gisele Bündchen, Jessica Biel and other celebrities.
Crafted in the Phillipines using traditional techniques since 2011, Renee Patron’s Banago creations are sheer showstoppers! The brand works with different artisanal communities across various regions, and each piece takes an average of 4-5 days to come to fruition. Handweaving organic elements such as native wild grass and palm leaves, the one-of-a-kind items come to life in vibrant colors, exotic patterns and bold prints: daytime totes, evening clutches, raffia fans, beach basket bags, sun visors, belt bags and more. Banago is found across top retailers in the Phillipines, U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Japan, Canada, Spain, Germany and other countries.
Accessories anchor an outfit. Just ask the talented Dominican designer Erika Peña. She creates magnificent tribal necklaces, and it’s no wonder superstar Jessica Alba wears her signature pieces! The brand is passionate about the earth’s elements - volcanic and semi-precious stones, sea glass, wood, brass, onyx, silver and more. So much to choose from: Layered, choker and tasseled necklaces. Handcut silver hoops and black horn earrings. Agate stone bracelets. And, her resort wear is just as divine: bohemian, romantic and dreamy floor-length dresses made of voile cotton and hand-dyed in gorgeous colors. Floss Gloss, a professional grade formula nail lacquer line, was born in San Francisco and is now designed in Brooklyn. Founders Aretha Sack and Janine Lee offer dazzling, hard-to-find customized colors - from neons, pastels, and holographic to nudes, glitter and deep hues. The fabulous brand is vegan friendly and cruelty-free, doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, and remains accessible and affordable.
Until next summer, Swim Week, until next summer!