Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SWIM runway reviews – Day 4

Photo: Tomas Loewy

Date: Monday, July 21
Label: Mia Marcelle
Inspiration: The everyday California beach (or Napa Valley?) girl
Heat Index: 2 (out of 5)
Mia Marcelle opened this year’s  group show with a string quartet to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” After the symphonic prelude, the music predictably shifted to Jackson’s version of the song piped in from the DJ, and models streamed down the runway in an equally predictable promenade of suit styles – halter tops in geometric prints with Brazilian cut bottoms, bandeaus tops with ruffle bottoms, triangle top string bikinis, a plunging neckline black monokini and black and white mesh coverups. It’s not that any of the suits were particularly bad, it’s just that they felt uninspired and lacked any signature creativity. The most head-turning piece came early in the show with a pink and gold maillot with peak-a-boo lattice work along the sides from top to bottom and a flatteringly revealing back. Menswear (created in collaboration with the Napa Valley-based designer’s husband) came in short, sporty board shorts and a printed “man brief.”
– By Shayne Benowitz | | Photos: Tomas Loewy

Date: Monday, July 21
Label: Aquarella
Inspiration: 1970s Indian princesses in autumn
Heat Index: 3
The most exciting pieces in Aquarella’s 2015 collection were reimaginings of last year’s most showstopping styles: a canary yellow maillot with cutouts so creative they looked futuristic and an electric blue two-piece with a high neck and cleavage-baring cutout. This year, the colors were in muted autumn tones (oranges, auburns, yellows and hunter greens with a dash of royal blue) in slightly psychedelic, Cubist prints. Models were styled with long, organic leather necklaces, armbands and headbands, giving them an Indian princess feel even when their suits shifted to sportier, ’90s-inspired silhouettes in neons, reminiscent of wetsuits. The most dated print came in a slithery pastel snake skin on a trio of cuts, while the final piece, a neon green and pink maillot with creative bandage accents and cutouts ended the show on a high note.
– By Shayne Benowitz | | Photos: Elizabeth Renfrow

Date: Monday, July 21
Label: AZ Araujo
Front Row: Adriana de Moura’s husband Frederic Marq
Inspiration: High fashion meets Brazil
Heat Index: 1
Brazilian designer AZ Araujo’s looks served as an afterthought to his spectacle of a show – a feat considering some of the outlandish pieces. To pull this off, he enlisted the help of sequin bikini-clad child models, plus-sized Brazilian actress Priscilla Marinho and even a Real Housewife of Miami. Adriana de Moura was paraded down the runway for the first look in a cheetah romper-meets-bathing suit and then again in strappy dark green patterned monokini to close the show. This all seemed to be a bid to distract from the show’s poorly constructed looks which included puff-sleeves, plastic buckles, satin turtlenecks bikini tops for women and patterned speedos, short shorts and cheetah one-pieces for men. Deep-hued paisley and Aztec prints were showcased in the swimwear pieces for both men and women. Also featured were a few apparel looks that would be puzzling at any runway show, but even more so during Swim Week. Topping that list was a look that consisted of a long white men’s V-neck top belted above the waist.
– By Jackie Salo | Miami Herald

Date: Monday, July 21
Label: AguaClara
Inspiration: Natural elements
Heat Index: 4
Peruvian brand AguaClara embraced natural beauty for its 2015 collection, drawing its inspiration from foliage, animals and landscapes for its prints. Clean silhouettes offset the dramatic prints, which could be found in the form of strapless one-pieces, monokinis and high-waisted bottoms. In some looks, these earthy textiles were coupled with intricate beading so sublime that one would think it was done at the hand of Mother Nature. One of the most memorable looks was the monokini adorned with deep blue precious stones in a design reminiscent of reptile scales. This season let nature take its course and it paid off.
– By Jackie Salo | Miami Herald | Photo: Elizabeth Renfrow

Date: Monday, July 21
Label: Sauvage
Inspiration: Glam rock
Heat Index: 3
Designer Elizabeth Southwood’s fervor for sultriness and edge converged with the 2015 collection’s glam rock aesthetic. Gleaming gold body chains brought added excitement to the vibrant hues. And gold chains continued to command attention when weaved into different looks throughout the show. They were shown as both bathing suit ties and embellishment to pieces. Mesh was also a notable trend that emerged in the line’s triangle bikini top looks. Found along the edges, the mesh panels gave the suits a sexy yet sophisticated element. However, the standout of the show came in the metal plate bikini top look that shimmered as it made its way down the runway for one of the final looks.
– By Jackie Salo | Miami Herald | Photo: Tomas Loewy

Date: Monday, July 21
Label: Toxic Sadie
Inspiration: Fun, punky designs
Heat Index: 4
Designer Erin Thomas amplified both the fun and sex appeal for its 2015 collection by playing with unique silhouettes. Plunging necklines, caged strap detailing and geometric cutouts let skin show in unexpected places. Some of the most memorable looks featured the caged straps lining the sides of the bottoms. But clavicles stole the show, with both the first and last looks showcasing racer front monokinis that won the crowd over. Splashes of color in multi-colored patterns and neon brights brought the entire collection to the next level.
– By Jackie Salo | Miami Herald | Photo: Tomas Loewy

Date: Monday, July 21
Label: Minimale Animale
Inspiration: Biker babes and bondage
Heat Index: 5
With the sounds of motors revving and the drama of a smoke machine in full effect, Minimale Animale presented the most overtly sexy presentation of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. Models clad in biker boots and motorcycle helmets took to the runway in the brand’s daringly revealing and minimalistic designs in black or white suits cut high on the hip. Accented w
ith mesh overlay or bondage straps, a new logo – a cross between a Phoenix rising and a Thunderbird – was ever present in the looks. If ever there was a brand to search for a little black bikini, this is where to go. The first truly head turning look of the night came in a black mesh one-piece with just enough solid material to cover the nether regions and the Phoenix/Thunderbird  logo covering the chest. Some designs were decidedly Mod with a white one-piece jumper layered atop a black crop top rash guard while others amped up the kink in revealing mesh long john tops, naughty suspenders holding up bikini bottoms and nipples covered in strips of solid material atop mesh triangle tops reminiscent of censor warnings. The heat continued to rise as one model took the runway in only a black leather biker jacket and bikini bottoms. And to top that, another took to the runway topless in bottoms with bondage strap details cupping her breasts for coverage. The grand finale came in a black bikini with a model removing her motorcycle helmet to whip her hair seductively for the photographers at the end of the runway. The crowd was equally revved as the models took their final spin down the catwalk.
– By Shayne Benowitz | | Photo: Tomas Loewy