Reality stars at Miami Swim Week

Among the crowd of attendees mingling at the Funkshion tent before Sunday’s Maaji Swimwear show, were The Real Housewives of Miami stars Alexia Echavarria and Marysol Patton, along with Shahs of Sunset’s Golnesa Gharachedaghi, Leila Gharachedaghi and Shervin Roohparvar.

The reality stars all sat together in row one where they laughed, had drinks and took selfies and pictures with fans until the show commenced.

The runway setting for Maaji’s newest collection, took the audience back to a western era that included a desert theme, filled with green cactuses painted on the walls of the stage and a blue painted road sign that read “Maaji.” 

Maaji started in Medellin, Colombia in 2005, by sisters Amalia and Manuela Sierra. The pair began by selling swimwear to customers in universities around the city. Three years later, they hired Juliana Londoño, also from Medellin. Londoño, is currently the designer for Maaji’s swimwear line, while the sisters focus on the administrative section of the company.

Maaji now sells swimwear, cover-ups and active wear.

“Initially it was swimsuits. Later we added cover ups and apparel, and finally we integrated active wear because that is what is “in” and the consumer has a high demand for it,” said Londoño, who explained that the new collection’s main colors are gray, lime green, pale orange with neon accents, eccentric yellows, lilac and purple, neon pinks and sapphire blue.

Maaji not only had their own show at the Funkshion tent, but they also showcased other swimwear at the W Hotel for the Protela Colombia show, where some of Colombia’s most recognized swimwear designers got together to show off their collections.

Agua Bendita, Babalu, Malai, Saha and Hernan Zajar were all part of the runway show.

Catalina Alvarez, co-owner and designer of Agua Bendita, believes that the company’s success comes from staying true to what it has always been, since she launched it with best friend and business partner Mariana Hinestroza in 2003.

“[The collection] “Love Adventure,” is a trip around the world, from safaris and animals, to cities and very special places, but we always continue with the characteristic and the essence of what Agua Bendita has always been, which is designs that contain hand-made embroidery and hand-crafted artisan work,” Alvarez said. “That is what has made it succeed in over 50 cities worldwide.”

Some recognized models of Agua Bendita have previously been Kendall Jenner and Candace Swanepool. Now Shannon de Lima is the model of the highly recognized line, and her husband, latin singer Marc Anthony is the photographer.  

The show ended with a standing ovation to Colombian designer and fashion expert, Hernan Zajar.

Zajar, who is one of the South American country’s most talked about names in the fashion industry, was now showcasing his collection for the first time at Miami Swim Week.

The collection was inspired by the structural design of Cartagena, which Zajar mentioned is one of the most touristic and colonial cities that are in Colombia.

“I picked it focusing on the architecture of the city, and the patterns show the detailing of the balconies, the houses and the unique designs of the  doorknobs on the gates of the old-fashioned houses in the city,” Zajar said. “My palette contains solely the colors of the sky during sundown because my swimsuits are made for that time of the day, after you have gone swimming, after you have tanned and when you are already looking beautiful.”

After working various fashion lines and being an icon in the industry, known for designing high-end couture, for Zajar it is marvelous to make something that is light and flexible for women, for a change.

“I love a sexy woman, who takes care of herself and her image,” he added.