Zebra prints and neon electrify runways at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim has returned to Miami Beach. Thousands of fashion editors, buyers, designers and bloggers mobbed The Raleigh Hotel July 18-22 to see the swimwear collections that will dominate the pool and beach scene in 2014.

I saw four back-to-back fashion shows on July 19. I kicked off the night with Agua Bendita, a Colombian swimwear brand known for its embellishments crafted by artisans mixed with modern designs. Traffic from Boca Raton down to Miami Beach was exceptionally brutal that day, especially with the Alton Road flyover being closed for repairs. I almost missed this show completely but got inside the tent just in time to see military-inspired bustiers, a lion-printed caftan and a clever one-piece suit emblazoned with the image of a camera.

Poko Pano offered an exciting array of white hot one-pieces and bikinis while Dolores Cortes was a delightful sea of turquoise bikinis, harem skirts and monokinis. The Spanish designer expertly understands the female form. Her designs for 2014 are a tropical getaway of exotic floral prints and kicky, pink zebra stripes.

Beach Bunny’s show was slated to start at 10 p.m., but like most things in Miami, it launched closer to 11 p.m. People were literally climbing over each other to get into this show, which in years past always attracted a star studded following of show goers including Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian and this year, Sports Illustrated model Chrissy Teigen. Once again, zebra prints popped up in this show, which was a cheeky nod to the ‘80s.

The next morning seemed to sneak up on me exceptionally quickly. It took almost two hours to get my car out of The Raleigh valet. But I was relieved to spend my morning at Shore Club viewing Tory Burch’s 2014 collection of orange and blue-hued cover-ups and bikinis. Burch has a knack for mixing bohemian style with elegant silhouettes. Her latest designs will be perfect poolside at The Boca Raton Resort and Club.

I later checked out the Lifestyle Retreat Lounge at The James Royal Palm. I chatted with Long Hair Don’t Care designer Kasey Murdock and Perrey Reeves who played Mrs. Ari Gold on HBO’s hit series “Entourage.” Lounge goers sipped Vida Tequila, 50 Pounds London Dry Gin and Whispering Angel wine while getting makeovers from Safar Salon.

The Mara Hoffman show was the stand out show of July 20. This was another show people were trying anything to get into. Hoffman’s aesthetically pleasing use of neon tribal print bikinis and Hindu god Ganesha-influenced dresses and one-pieces made this line pop with a global glamour. There’s nothing more interesting than taking a trip with your beachwear before you even leave the house.  


Contact Joanie Cox-Henry at jkcox@tribune.com or follow her tweets at Twitter.com/joaniecox.

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