Cruise '19—The Swimwear Look Designer’s Point of View

From feminine frills to sportswear-inspired cover-ups, designers are delivering the hottest trends for Cruise ’19. One-pieces continue to reign as the “must-have” suit while textures have gained status. High-cut legs, low-cut backs and plenty of skin are most certainly in. Sustainability is growing in importance, and many brands are creating fabrics that are eco-friendly. Here is a look at the key trends of the season from the designers’ point of view.


The most directional trend going forward, according to Tess Hamilton and Ali Hoffmann, cofounders of KAOHS, are tops that offer a peephole. Many brands are finding new and innovative ways to add the detail to their collections. “It’s a new way to show cleavage and actually enhances the look of your breasts as well. You will see a few variations from KAOHS in both Resort and Spring,” Hamilton said.


“Tie and wrap details continue to be popular,” said Monica Wise, founder and creative director for L*Space by Monica Wise. “Our new ‘must-have’ for the season is our ‘Flash-back’ bikini top, featuring a tie front,” she said. Wrap tops are also a key trend, according to Brian Davis, designer for Magicsuit. “We feel strongly about dance-inspired ballerina looks that wrap and tie around the body. These looks are feminine, romantic and beautiful on every body type,” he said. Key colors for the season are deep cranberry and lipstick red, he added.


Sexy, high-cut legs and low-back one-pieces inspired by the ’80s and ’90s are some of the most directional trends, according to Gottex Creative Director Keren Gasner. Vy Nguyen, founder and designer of Lolli Swim, also feels the look is directional going forward. “The comeback of the flattering French-cut leg is going to stay as will the athletic 1990s influence, which is super fun,” she explained.


“Sportswear as cover-ups are the thing. Jean shorts, tied-up T-shirts and flirty dresses make the best cover-ups,” said Marina Hamm, designer and merchandiser, women’s global swim, for Volcom. Many brands are noticing the trend. “Crossover versatility is going to continue to drive designs, creating items that can be worn out or worn to the gym. It gives swimsuits a life beyond the beach,” said Angela Chittenden, designer/founder of Beach Bunny Swimwear. Sportswear and multipurpose items are growing in importance. Kristyn Goddard, founder and designer for Paradise Ranch Designs, is also noticing swimwear is transitioning into streetwear, gym wear and athleisure wear. The collection pairs bikinis and one-piece suits with boardshorts, mix-and-match skirts, breezy jackets, sheer pants and form-fitting cover-ups.


“The ‘must-have’ style is definitely embracing the frill,” said Sinead James, womenswear designer for Charlie Holiday. In fact, all things girly are trending this season in many collections. Feminine details such as ruffles and ties, and pretty floral prints, are some of the hottest trends, according to Angela Chittenden of Beach Bunny Swimwear, whose Cruise ’19 was French- and Moroccan-inspired. Femininity is also key for Lolli Swim. “You know we’re girly girls over at Lolli! “ said the brand’s designer, Vy Ngyuen. “This season we’re loving frilly ruffles, lots and lots of bows, textured fabrics and our first-ever animal print, leopard hearts! We put a lot of focus on our high-waisted bottoms as well as our one-pieces for super flattering, flirty fits,” she added.


PilyQ’s signature scalloped lace continues to be a “must-have,” according to Head Designer Pily Queipo and Creative Director Amber Delecce-Forge. They are offering lace in a variety of swim bodies, including the tri, halter, bandeau and high-waist as well as cover-ups. One-pieces, high waists, textured fabrics, color blocks and florals are also hot trends, they said.


One-pieces are still one of the hottest trends, according to many designers. Designer Melissa Odabash noted it’s because they are so versatile. “I’m seeing so many girls wear them as bodysuits, and they look so chic,” she said, adding that textured fabrics on swimsuits are also huge and, as always, nautical prints never go out of style. Cute one-pieces that can double as bodysuits are also the “must-have” item for Cruise ’19, according to Angela Chittenden of Beach Bunny Swimwear, and Saha Swimwear Creative Director Monica Echeverri said the high-cut maillot is a top look this season. Volcom’s “Simply Rib” one-piece is the must-have item, according to Volcom’s Marina Hamm. The suit is the one “that every girl absolutely must have and must wear every day, every way,” she said.


“Texture is the new solid,” said Monica Wise of L*Space. “Ribbed fabric is everywhere, and we love it!” Indeed, swimwear is embracing ribbed fabrics, textures and surface interest. According to Mauricio Esquenazi, president and creative director for Peixoto, texture is one of the most directional trends going forward. “We started to see some smocking during Summer 2018. We will continue to see it moving forward into 2019 as a form of texture, from bikinis to one-pieces to clothing,” he added. For Luli Fama, the most exciting innovation is texturized swimwear, jacquards, layering and volume. “For the Cruise ’19 trends we are definitely seeing a lot of textured fabrics for swim, which makes the styles more interesting,” said Luli Hanimian, cofounder of the brand. “Silhouettes are feminine and chic, with small details that call attention, like ruffles and lace-ups. Bold colors are back on the forefront, which is what Luli Fama is all about.”