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Things to do in Miami during Mercedes-Benz fashion week swim

Celebrating its 10th year, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim events take place in Miami Beach from July 17-21. Over five days #MBFWSWIM showcases the collections of 50 swimwear designers across multiple venues on South Beach.

While the official catwalks are open only to industry and press, there are plenty of “unofficial” fashion parties and runway shows open to the public. So the fashion loving traveler will find it worthwhile to visit Miami Beach during this week.

The centerpiece locale is the ever-hip Raleigh Hotel, official host hotel and location for most of the fashion shows. For travelers wanting to be near the action of Fashion Week but not consumed by it, two great fashionable hotels within a few blocks are The Riviera Hotel and The Gale Hotel.

A renovated hotel opened in 2013, The Riviera Hotel strays from the modernistic interior design that dominates South Beach. Instead its room interiors are darker with classic finishes such as brown leather ottomans and animal hide rugs. A few blocks off the ocean, it’s also on the periphery of South Beach activity. However, it is nearby the W South Beach Hotel, which will host swimwear shows at its Salon Allure.

Closer to the center of South Beach, The Gale’s “Mad Men” era décor offers a low-lit lobby, dark wood hallway walls, and black and white photographs of Frank Sinatra and Mickey Mantle. It has a great bar with large, comfortable leather seats, plus a tasty Italian restaurant, Dolce Italia. Be sure to photograph the black Model T Ford quirkily stationed outside.

The restaurants and bars will be extra busy with thousands of visiting fashion professionals which attend other non-Mercedes Benz shows such as the Swim Show at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Take in some down home cooking at Yardbird Southern Table and Bar just off Lincoln Road.

Traverse to Yardbird’s culinary opposite, the quiet, sleek, seafood oriented Local House in the Sense South Beach Hotel. If you find yourself starving after watching skinny models at The Raleigh, walk across the street to taste Korean fusion at the Catalina Hotel’s Fung Ku.

Between the eating and the playing, you can attend “open to the public” events during the week. Probably the most popular of these is the Funkshion fashion show at the super fabulous SLS Hotel.

Or, be a fashionable philanthropist at the Fashion Saves event in SOHO Beach House. Don’t drown in fashion at Splashion in the Filmore Theatre, hosted by local media stalwart MIAMI Magazine. Mingle with Miami's fashionable at Miami Fashion Network's fashion lovers event at The Betsy Hotel South Beach.

A passion-for-fashion crowd will dominate the Miami scene this week, so visitors should familiarize themselves with a few names and motifs of indie swimwear designers.

Check out Wildfox Couture which perfectly integrates sensuality with hippie culture, creating a relaxed yet very sexy look. Brazilian born Sinesia Karol mixes American cuts with the colorful prints and chic allure we expect of Brazil. Colombian designer Paula Saavedra brings bold, sexy swimwear that tastefully mixes bright colors in her brand Caffe Swimwear.