North against South; it’s a bikini war!
Well, maybe not quite a war, but the world of beachwear is divided into two very distinct camps. Which side are you on?
I had, of course, noticed it before: in some cultures, women are not afraid to ‘let it all hang out’ on the beach, while in others, women prefer a bit of coverage. Think of the thong-wearing Brazilians versus the bathingsuit-loving Scandinavians.
But it wasn’t till I started designing swimwear that I learned that this is an actual phenomenon, and that fashion insiders speak of ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ countries when it comes to our preferences on the beach. A big part of it is geographical: North America compared to South America for example, or Northern Europe versus the Mediterranean countries. But a lot of it has to do with attitude.
The brands that cater to the Southern part of the market –Agent Provocateur and La Perla for example- have a tendency to put form over function. If you want frills, they’ll give you frills, even if those frills have a tendency to shift when you take a dive. Hey, as long as you look fabulous! But there are usually only 4 sizes available per style, so it’s very hard to find a bikini or swimsuit that fits absolutely perfectly. The funny thing: a true ‘Southern’ girl doesn’t seem to care. As Southern bombshell Sophia Loren once famously said: ‘Everthing you see, I owe to spagetthi.’ So what if some of that fabulousness cannot be contained by your bikini?
And then there are the Northern brands like Chantelle, Aubade, and Marie Jo. I count my own brand amongst them, because I decided early on that fit is very important to me. A Northern girl likes her curves just as much as a Southern girl; she just doesn’t like them spilling out of her swimsuit. And if she enjoys wearing a push-up bra under her clothes, she might expect her bikini top to give her the same kind of confidence on the beach. So for each theme, I design different styles to flatter all the different body types out there. And instead of merely 4 bikini-top sizes, you can choose from 24! Not the easiest way for a designer, I can tell you that, but to me, offering you confidence is my main motivation. ( I sometimes wonder if a ‘Southern’ woman wouldn’t prefer to have that same kind of choice, if her favorite brands offered it to her..)
So what are you? A Northern or Southern type? A Grace Kelly or a Brigitte Bardot? A Taylor Swift or a Sofia Vergara? Why not pick and choose, like Rihanna, who wears my ‘Northern’ designs on stage but does her holiday chilling in ‘Southern’ little nothings? After all, I believe in having your cake and eating it too, and finding the matching bikini to boot!
REFLECTIONS FROM YOUR MIRROR
FOR THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD
Between king and QUEEN
Who is Tasya van Ree? The mysterious girl in the big black hat has been fascinating art connoisseurs and fashion lovers alike since she burst onto the scene with her stunning black-and-white photographs of celebrities like Michelle Rodriguez and (one-time lover) Amber Heard. I asked the Hawaiian-born visual artist of Dutch-Japanese ancestry (41) about her art and soul. “Between both King and Queen is where I exist.”
Sara Mearns (31) is New York City Ballet’s boldest ballerina. A passionate, intense dancer, she started dancing at 3 and starred in Swan Lake when she was only 19. But instead of resting on her laurels, Sara has kept challenging herself with daring projects, from a collaboration with hip-hop dancers to a leading role in a Broadway show. I talked with the fierce Swan Queen about sacrifices, body confidence, and how to turn pain into gain. “I’m not the typical skinny, tall, long-neck kind of ballerina.”
The art of love!
Get your creative juices flowing
This Valentine’s, don’t wait around for that love-note or those fancy chocolates to feel loved and desired. Express yourself to fall in love with yourself, now!