Summer’s Key Trends

Swim Scene

Triangl Swimwear. Photo by Darren McDonald.

Triangl Swimwear. Photo by Darren McDonald.

As of Friday, January 9, 2015

From weekend getaways to exotic island holidays, designers have plenty of chic inspiration for Summer. Think ’70s glam, sport luxe and boudoir-inspired bikinis as key looks for the season. As beach-to-street dressing becomes ever popular, designers are creating versatile options that make it easy to chill on the beach, lounge poolside and be dressed for cocktail hour. Here is a look at key trends of the season.—N. Jayne Seward

Beach to Street

Women are ready to be dressed for the beach—and designers are giving them plenty of options. “Versatility is critical,” said L*Space founder Monica Wise, who has created a line of tunics and coverups that transition effortlessly from the beach to the street. “Women can wear them over a swimsuit and easily throw on a pair of jeans and it still makes sense,” she said. Many brands—including Mikoh, Kushcush, Lee + Lani and Acacia Swimwear—have expanded their coverup collections this season. Ponchos, kimonos, rompers, maxi dresses, T-shirts, and matching swimwear and coverups are popular items. For Chio di Stefania D, coverups are becoming more and more important as fashion pieces, and the Canadian swim line’s glamorous styles can be worn from day to night. Beach Riot is all about the beach-to-street look, said designer Nicole Hanriot. “Bikinis that are versatile as crop tops or body suits that you can mix and match with your outfits is a trend we feel will become a staple in any girl’s wardrobe,” she said.

That '70s Show

Studio 54 glam and Marrakech chic circa the ’70s are back—with a vengeance. “We are seeing a return to 1970s shapes, high-cut thighs, low backs and plunging V-neck lines,” said Suboo founder Sue Di Chio. “Lurex and shimmer fabrics, ruching and side ties will complete the overall ’70s vibe.” Designer Red Carter also found inspiration in the ’70s era when designing his “Boogie Nights”–inspired group. “I looked through vintage photographs from the Studio 54 era, the 1970s early disco days and dancing nights. These pieces bring the club to the beach!” he said. An earthy palette, Moroccan prints, embroidered textiles, crochet trims, beading, sequins, fringe and au-naturel boho-chic style are de rigueur this season. Frankie’s Bikinis designer Francesca Aiello said boho chic is her inspiration for Summer ’15. Key trends include Brazilian-cut bottoms, detailed crochet and macramé bikinis, and halter tops. The collection’s “Poppy” one-piece with floral crochet detail has been a hit with buyers. “Girls will be able to wear the ‘Poppy’ from the beach to the music festivals all summer long,” Aiello said. 

Sports Chic

Sporty inspiration from athletic wear to surfer chic continues to influence the swim market. Mesh fabrics, neoprene, high-neck tanks, color blocking and rash guards are key trends for Summer. “There’s been a lot of influence from activewear in the swim market,” said designer Red Carter. “Designers are really paying attention to detail, fabric quality, underwire support and overall construction of the swimsuit,” he added. Mikoh co-founders Oleema and Kalani Miller said retailers are gravitating toward their sporty cuts as well as their latest signature pieces from the brand’s black neoprene Mikoh X Surf collection. Other brands, including Suboo, were also inspired by the active lifestyle this season. “We’ve brought this idea forward by softening [it] with unexpected tropical and floral prints, making the collection highly fashionable and fun,” said Suboo founder Sue Di Chio. The halter neck in a two-piece or one-piece is the newest and strongest shape, she said, whether it’s on crochet or sport-luxe neoprene. Vitamin A designer Amahlia Stevens created a vintage take on the trend. “I was inspired by the idea of sporty chic—from the crisp vintage glamour of tennis and sailing to the Slim Aarons’ photos of the jet set on holiday,” she said.

Lounge Act

From underwire tops to cheeky bottoms, lingerie-inspired swimwear is one of the most fashion-forward looks of the season. Think sexy back details, bralette-style tops, floral fabrics and mesh paneling. “We are focusing on the trend inner-wear as outerwear—we see a big crossover lately between beach coverups, loungewear and sportswear,” said Solid & Striped designer Morgan Curtis. “A lot of our pieces can be worn to the beach, around the house, and out and about depending on how you style it,” Curtis explained. Bustiers and bralette tops are the newest trend going forward, according to Vitamin A designer Amahlia Stevens. “[They are] perfect pieces for the beach and equally chic peeking out from beneath a low-cut tank, layered under sheer styles or on their own as a crop top,” the designer said. This season Lee + Lani’s structured bustier pieces and cap-sleeve mesh bodysuits have been popular with buyers. Acacia Swimwear has introduced a basics lingerie line that can convert from undergarments to swimwear. Designer Naomi Newirth said the collection’s signature cheeky bottoms are difficult to keep in stock. Less is definitely more when it comes to beach chic for Summer.