I am still basking in the afterglow of the 9th season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, trying my best to do all of the designers justice via quality coverage and posts, but sometimes, a style blogger needs to call in for reinforcements. Cue industry expert, Nivara Xaykao.
After viewing twenty-something collections, it's difficult to keep the swimsuits, caftans and tunics from amassing into one big bikini blur. As the Intimates and Swimwear Editor at Stylesight, it is Nivara's job to single out and predict what will soon be hot or not, and she was sweet enough to allow me to pick her brain about this years' collections, general swimwear tips, and what to expect to see in the swim and resort shops next season.
Q & A with Nivara Xaykao
50’s retro pin-up style suits were big this season, are there any other decades you see making a comeback?
The 60s are offering a more loosened up, youthful alternative to the ladylike styles of the 50s. The bottoms are lowering to midrise or hipster silhouettes, and the tops are a little sportier. I'm seeing super simple yet graphic Mod-inspired prints and color palettes. Material-wise, too, there is some Space Age influence in ultra-structured fabrics and plasticky accents.
Gottex Collection Photo Credit: Getty Images, c/o Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim
When it comes to swimwear, what is your biggest faux pas?
In viewing the collections this season, I feel like there were some issues with over-designing. The most effective brands kept it simple, focusing instead on fit and fabric. Some designers seemed to put every good idea – cutouts, intricate panels, bondage details, fabric mixing, color blocking, embellishments – they had into one garment, and the sum was not always greater than its parts. It comes off looking too fussy and gimmicky, which is the antithesis of what the beach lifestyle is about.
Are tribal prints here to stay?
I am a little tired of them, but you can never rule out any fashion trend too quickly. They can be reinterpreted with new colorways, surreal elements, digital printing technology and just how they are placed on a garment. I also think that the "keep it simple" philosophy applies here. The tribal prints of the past few seasons have been quite flashy and complex. It would be more refreshing to see them re-imagined in a more pared-down way.
Mara Hoffman High-Waisted Tribal Bikini
Do you have a favorite fashion trend spotted here in Miami?
Again, the more sleek, minimalist pieces were what I felt were newest here. A lot of designers are doing great things with neoprene. It's such a versatile fabric, and I saw it interpreted in so many different ways. It really lends structure to suits without resorting to underwires, boning and various supportive accessories. It also gives off this cool leather-like look. It works from both a fashion and functional perspective.
Any general tips on how to look better in your swimwear/skivvies?
Being comfortable in a suit goes far in looking good. Make sure everything fits properly and sits where it should. I saw a lot of underwire styles this week that were riding up the model's back. The simple solution to that is to find a smaller band size. Unfortunately, bra sizing isn't as developed for swimwear as it is in intimates, so you are often limited. For bottoms, a lot of designers are putting a row of shirring up the center back so that you get a dimensional fit around the bum and, more importantly, no digging in!
What is a swimwear trend you’d never be caught dead in?
The bondage-inspired pieces with all the cutouts and criss-crossing strings are a nightmare for tan lines, although, they look great out of the pool (or under some shade) and in editorials.
What are the three must-have items you gotta have in your beach bag?
1- Sunscreen - I love the sun but not a tan. Sun Bum is one of my favorite brands.
2- A good book - I'm currently reading The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch which, obviously, is perfect for the beach.
3- A cover-up you can rock in any occasion - A long, flowy skirt is perfect for throwing over my favorite one-piece suit. I also love little vintage dresses and rompers.
Thanks Nivara for your time, your wisdom and for giving us major insight into next season's swim trends.