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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami: the most fashionable and surfable swim for her

Women are always looking for beauty and functionality in their swimwear, especially within the surfing subculture. On July 17th-21st, 2014, at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Miami, designers addressed this niche market’s needs. Standouts, who showed both fashion forward and functional, surfing attire at the 10th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week included: the accomplished, Mara Hoffman as well as talented newcomers like Liliana Montoya, the Somers, and Meegan Elizabeth.

Mara Hoffman Resort 2015
Mara Hoffman Resort 2015
Photo courtesy of LaForce + Stevens, photographed by Isfashion
Meegan Elizabeth Hawaii's Ku'uipo top and Pukalani bottom is easy to duck dive in.
Photo courtesy of Meegan Elizabeth Hawaii, photographed by Bayly Buck

Mara Hoffman, a veteran in the swimwear fashion world, displayed her Resort 2015 collection in the Cabaña Grande at The Raleigh on Saturday, July 19, 2014. The purple one-piece that laces up the back works well with the functionality of surfing and is flattering in color. The one-piece with long sleeves simulates a spring suit sans the neoprene bulk. The patterned crop top and matching cut out bottoms make a statement without sacrificing in-water mobility. Rash guards are making their way on the runways with roar reviews! The leopard-like one from Mara Hoffman is no exception. She reinvented the boring, black swimsuit for surfer girls. The cut of the top is perfect for surfing because it holds all of the parts of a female’s anatomy in place. The black color and embellishments add sophistication and glamour.

Confirmed attendees of the Mara Hoffman show included television personality Rocsi Diaz, actress Serinda Swan, stylist Lysa Cooper, and even film director and producer Michael Bay! Influencers such as Devin Brugman, Natasha Oakley, Jennifer Grace, Natalie Suarez, Liz Cherkasova, and Olivia Lopez also showed their support for Mara Hoffman’s Resort 2015 collection. Clearly, Mara Hoffman has already established a large, cult following. However, it can be difficult for swim designers to reinvent their fashions year after year.

Mara Hoffman overcame this challenge, inspired by her recent travels to arguably one of the most beautiful and underexposed countries in the world, Guatemala. There, she drew from the population, art, textiles, culture, untouched landscape, and no doubt the surfing beaches! While the beauty of her swimwear is vastly apparent to the naked eye, the functionality leaves an impression on a vast number of surfer girls. Her secret is a predominately reversible swim collection. On one side, there may be bold prints while the other side maintains striking solids. In addition, surfer girls can mimic Hoffman’s trend in makeup and nails. For the runway, Sarah Lucero, Stila’s lead makeup artist, created a fresh faced look using blue eyeliner. Vanity Projects offered a fun beauty tip...funky nails!

While Mara Hoffman’s designs are reliably inventive and quality garments, there were plenty of fresh-faced designer marvels this year as well. MONTOYA Swimwear by Liliana Montoya was one designer making her debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The runway show was sponsored by Norwegian Cruise Line. Like Hoffman, Liliana Montoya also drew from Central America. Inspired by her native country, Columbia, she produced a collection entitled Mermaids. Montoya reportedly calls all of her models “mermaids.” What surfer girl does not dream of being a mermaid?

In Montoya’s collection, surfer girls can feel like a real life mermaid! The number one benefit of the collection is the silhouette. This line caters to a woman’s body, highlighting her best attributes. The girl next door is offered a variety, from bright colors to neutral tones. The signature gold heart emphasizes the love that Liliana Montoya puts into each piece.
The appeal of the line can be found in the fine details of the design and its quality materials. Refined fabrics and ornaments, alongside brilliant colors and patterns are the essentials for the sophisticated woman. Montoya specializes in luxury without being too ostentatious.

For their Spring/Summer 2015 collections entitled Euphoria and Halcyon Days, designers Jeremy and Katinka Somers (of Australia) produced stunning, colorful swimwear for their label, We Are Handsome. Like Hoffman and Montoya, the Somers drew inspiration from contrasting notions, striking imagery, travel, art, and culture. However, they offer a shock factor!

At the runway show, tropical foliage backdrops and an albino python named Money really stunned the audience. The FRENDS x We Are Handsome headphones seen on the runway are available at Nordstroms as part of an exclusive collaboration. But, surfer girls should pay close attention to the hair throughout the show. Recreating the hair by Nick Irwin for Catwalk by TIGI is not too tricky and is a must for this swim season!

We are loving We Are Handsome as it caters to the unique individual. “In addition to the print progression you see for 2015, we we're inspired to treat each piece individually and in doing so, tailored the trim and detail specifically,” Somers shares. “The result comes to life in collections with a unique 'individual feeling' as the offering.” The highlight of this collection is the tailored fit. It is retro and fashion forward all while maintaining clean lines and fit. The entourage of rash guards, racerback tops, fitted bottoms, appropriate trim and zippers, and spring suits offer a sultry, surfer vibe. A surfer could embrace every item in the women’s collection.

Her namesake line, Meegan Elizabeth Hawaii, also made its unveiling at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Miami. Meegan Elizabeth calls her latest collection WILD FLOWERS. “My new collection WILD FLOWERS is manufactured using the highest quality fabrics, lining, and production. The fit is extremely comfortable and flattering. When you wear Meegan Elizabeth Hawaii, you know your suit is made with your active lifestyle in mind,” Meegan comments on the practicality and functionality of the line.

It was only natural to dub the collection after what inspired her in the first place, wild flowers throughout Hawaii. One illustrious feature of the Bardot bottoms is the ability to fold them over. This means that you can have either fold-over bottoms or high-waist bottoms all in one, versatile swimsuit. This swimwear offers more than just functionality, like the comparison of the flowers, it radiates beauty. In 2011, Meegan began fashioning her swimwear, drawing inspiration from the art, photography, and beaches of Hawaii. An additional perk, her swimwear is both designed and made in Hawaii, USA. Meegan says her line is

for gypsy, island girls who live by the rhythm of the waves, and know everything is fluid and ever-changing. Meegan Elizabeth Hawaii caters to her, taking care in functionality and form while staying true to her romantic beach style. Have a love affair with the ocean."

For social pictures and information: @marahoffman, @montoyaswimwear, @wearehandsome, and @meeganelizabethhawaii