From the beach to the street—and now to the gym—swimwear is quickly becoming the new fashion “must-have.” “The swim market has a bigger platform than ever before, as women are looking at swimwear as something that they are excited to purchase,” said Oleema Miller, designer and cofounder of Mikoh. “We’ve noticed that customers are adding swim to their wardrobe, not as a necessity but as a way to make a style statement.” Think everything from loungewear to festival chic and sports and yoga apparel. “I think athleisure is a massive influence for the swimwear market as it is blurring the lines between swimwear, activewear and ready-to-wear,” said Sally Burgess, director of Kopper & Zink Swimwear. “This is driving exciting new shapes and fabrications and changing the context of where swimwear can be worn,” she added. According to Howie Greller, vice president of merchandising at Manhattan Beachwear, “Athleisure is a huge influence as it crosses over all lifestyle categories, including swim and coverups. It can be seen in details, colors, fabrics and
shaping,” he said. “The ’70s is also a big one, with Coachella reinforcing the look this summer in tie-dyes, ditsy prints, mixed prints, earth tones and paisleys,” he added. One of the most directional trends at O’Neill is “Swimtimates,” or wearing a bikini as a layering piece under a dress or tank top. “More than ever, the bikini is becoming the most versatile piece in your wardrobe,” said O’Neill design director Rachael Hill, who added that the hybrid segment of the line that functions both in the water and on land continues to gain momentum. “Our consumer is clearly gravitating toward products that can be used in multiple ways,” she added. Now women can be fashionable and functional, sporting rash guards, halters and surf leggings at the gym or while running errands. And don’t forget beach-to-bar dressing, where swimwear and coverups can double for a night out on the town. “People are loving pieces that can be worn [at the] beach and beyond,” said Frankie’s Bikinis founder and designer Francesca Aiello. From ’70s boho chic and crochet treatments to high-neck halters, sporty styling, romantic prints, and macramé and mesh details, here are the key trends that capture the season’s multifunctional look.
“Active is a rapidly growing category,” said Nicole Hanriot, founder/designer of Beach Riot. “Since we always strive for our pieces to be functional both in and out of the water, we’re taking active lifestyles into account and creating sportier pieces that can be worn whether you’re laying out at the pool or being active at the beach.” Sporty tank-style silhouettes, boy shorts, rash guards, mesh, piqué, rib/specialty fabrics as well as digital, mixed prints and color-blocking epitomize the look. “I’ve always been inspired by athleisure, which has had an obvious influence in my swim collections and continues for SS16 swim, where you’ll see racerback tops and surf suits,” said Mara Hoffman who recently launched a fashion-driven activewear collection.
’70s BOHO CHIC
The ’70s get chic for 2016 with boho-inspired swimwear peasant tops, patchwork dresses and plenty of fringe details. Envision mix-and-match prints and a nod to the folkloric trend at Captiva or boho/gypsy inspiration at Lucky Brand with trendy paisleys, patchwork and a variety of handcrafted details. “This summer it’s all about the earthy tones and colors,” said Alejandra Boggiano, founder and designer of Solkissed Swimwear. “For silhouettes, I’ve been very inspired by ’70s fashion and have incorporated high leg cuts, crisscrossed tops and off-the-shoulder styles into the Solkissed collection.”
With the ’70s trending, it’s all in the details for summer.“Handcrafted items sourced from around the world are the most exciting aspect of this season,” said ále by Alessandra designer and model Alessandra Ambrosio. “We are seeing more crochet, embroidery, tassels and other handwork details,” she explained, adding that the collection’s bestselling pieces have crochet elements. Mikoh’s macramé-detailed, sexy one-pieces have received a strong response from retailers, and, according to Oleema Miller, designer and cofounder of MIKOH, the most directional trends are “elaborate yet understated details that make each piece feel more multi-functional, allowing women to integrate swim into their everyday wardrobe.”
BOUDOIR TO BEACH
From the boudoir to the cabana, swimwear is capturing the feminine, loungewear look of the season. Envision lacy rompers, floral prints, ruffles and swimwear in Rose Quartz and Serenity, Pantone’s dual 2016 Color of the Year. “We’re seeing lots of floral/tropical prints, low-waist bottoms, ruffles, off-the-shoulder and pastels with the continuation of the ’70s,” said 6 Shore Road owner and designer Pooja Kharbanda. Spring’s feminine attitude is captured with crochet, lace and lace-like embroideries such as those utilized by CHIO di Stefani D. Bestsellers in the collection include lace coverups that can be worn during the day or glammed up at night with a pair of stilettos.
“Everything strappy is trending right now—cutouts, crisscross over the chest, side straps, you name it,” said PilyQ cofounder Amber DeLecce-Forge. he look varies from Mikoh’s signature multi-strappy look to bold silhouettes by Kopper & Zink Swimwear, which utilize straps engineered to compliment the body. “We love using mesh inserts as it conceals and reveals the perfect amount of skin. We also maintained our signature sleek, strappy look and use of bold color,” Sally Burgess, director of Kopper & Zink Swimwear, said.
High-neck tanks are a key silhouette of the season. “The biggest trend right now would have to be high-necks and making them special, braided, crocheted—anything special and different,” PilyQ cofounder Amber DeLecce-Forge said. High necks in both cropped two-pieces and one-pieces are “leading the race” with retailers, according to Howie Greller, vice president of merchandising at Manhattan Beachwear. Many brands noted the popularity of the style, including ále by Alessandra, Beach Riot, O’Neill, BECCA by Rebecca Virtue, Hot Water, Lucky Brand and 99 Degrees.
Going forward, it’s “one-pieces all the way,” said designer Mara Hoffman. From bandeau styles to deep V-necks and bodysuits, the one-piece takes inspiration from the sexy ’70s. “The era of the one-piece is definitely still strong, and you see a lot of retailers responding to different variations of the classic “one-piece,” said Amaiò Swim designer Samantha Khoury. “High necks and deep-V one-pieces are definitely two major signatures for this season that I see continuing longterm,” she added.
Taking cues from ready-to-wear, coverups in a fresh white palette are trending for 2016. “I think women are looking for coverups that are more in the spirit of ready-to-wear collections than the previous, more traditional coverup. They are definitely more the directional focus for this season,” Amaiò Swim designer Samantha Khoury said. Designers can cast a wide net this season as coverup silhouettes range from rompers to ponchos, pants, jumpsuits and kimonos. “We’ve brought the resort lifestyle to an everyday look that our customers love wearing on and off of the beach,” said L*Space Chief Creative Officer Monica Wise. “From rompers to tunics, our designs focus on that chic yet unfussy coastal/cool look.”