Take a dip Featured

A history of swimwear, through this season's hottest designs

by 30 May 2013

Annette Kellerman did for swimwear what fire did for cavemen. Back in 1907 the ‘Australian mermaid’ caused a scandal with her outfit at a Boston beach. Her ‘swimsuit,’ which resembled a modern diving suit, was first and foremost fitted (completely against previous models of the era) not to mention it revealed arms, legs (from the knee down) and her neckline. Completely unheard of! After the initial shock faded and the outfit gained in popularity, it wasn’t long before it became THE fashion.

As the years passed, the original style began to shrink becoming more and more revealing. By the 1940s a two-piece variant was introduced, and just like its predecessor it too suffered a few cuts over the years. This newer model, was coined bikini based the on infamous location for atomic bomb testing – the Bikini Atoll. It was named as such as it caused an ‘atomic effect.’ The style became popular across the globe, especially with tinsel town beauties including the likes of Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth, but it was with Brigitte Bardot that it reached its peak in the fashion realm. Who could ever forget Bardot in St Tropez with her bikini?

As summer fills the air we are faced with one dilemma: one-piece or two? Those who said the answer to this ‘depends on age,’ should think again. The only answer to this question is to opt for the style which best suits your shape. Today we have a whole new world of designers that play with an infinity of fabrics. Here’s our rundown of those certain to make a splash this season…

Andrés Sardà has established itself as a leading name in lingerie and by 1970, in swimwear as well. This season, the Spanish label brings a collection of 11 distinct lines that pay homage to 11 divas of the silver screen. Greta, with geometric designs and bold colour combinations; Grace with retro inspired navy and white motifs; Liz with sophisticated draping in red or black; Sofia in bright tones and jeweled details; and of course, Brigitte in stretch crochet with lycra for added support. Each line captures the personality of these exceptional ladies with elegant designs, unique patterns and innovative materials that will keep you looking great as well as comfortable both in and out of the water.

Lingerie labels know the female figure and of these who better than La Perla? Since 1971, when the Italian maison presented their first swimwear collection, they continue to impress with ultra feminine creations, exceptional craftsmanship and innovative materials. Their latest collection is no exception, taking inspiration from Sicily; we see different lines each named after a Sicilian city featuring La Perla’s signature lace and embroidery workmanship. Choose your favourite from one-piece suits in elegant earth-tones of Modica or Lipari’s solid colour suits with elegant lace and ruffles; to bikinis in tile inspired prints of Sciacca or Taormina’s colourful jeweled and crochet embellished bikinis with matching bottoms with ruffles; and many other elegant lines each with equally elegant cover-ups.

La Perla has also been known for its interesting collaborations and this season they joined forces with Jean Paul Gaultier to create a bold new line featuring his trademark creativity. We see tattoo inspired drawings on bandeaus, tank tops, one-piece suits and cover-up skirts and dresses. What would Jean Paul Gaultier be without his iconic cage designs which are expertly featured in bikinis and suits in red, white or black?

This season, hit the beach in style with the designs that will be causing a stir all over. Remember to bring your trusted pair of shades and a good hat to keep away those harmful UV rays!