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As a nearly 20 year Fashion Industry Vet, I've made TheFE my place to cover and discuss everything fashionable from books, to designer ready-to-wear to couture. All aspects of a fashionable lifestyle are included. BIG NEWS: I'VE MOVED TheFE TO WORDPRESS to take advantage of their superior publishing platform. See you there!!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Swankini’s Vargas Girl Swim Suits

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I’ve already packed the most important item for our Thanksgiving weekend get-away to somewhere warm and sunny: the bathing suit. I’m not usually that ahead of the game when it comes to matters such as packing, but I liked my new Swankini Suit[], so much that it was a definite “yes” on my vacation wardrobe list. In my quest to be as the late C.Z. Guest
so aptly said, “well turned-out”, I’ve worked-out some of the matching accessories, using the suit as my anchor.
Packed-away In my Pucci-patterned cosmetic roll: a giant paste green and purple ring that looks like Verdura’s classic three stone ring, but on steroids, and butter London’s ‘British Racing Green’, [], which perfectly matches the Swankini Suit.

I’m not usually this excited to pack for a trip to Miami. No woman really enjoys bathing suit shopping, with the possible exception of the glamazons my former boss, Michael Kors, tagged as “beautiful freaks of nature”. On the list: Naomi Campbell, Giselle Bundchen,
Karmen Cass.
That leaves the rest of us. American women’s sizing has polarized into the super tiny [sizes 0 and 20] to the zaftig size 12/14 and up. Retailers have finally gotten it through their skulls that “big girls” want to look good and so have fashion designers. There are now swim suits that flatter the woman with a size D bust, who’s a size 12/14. Last winter, I helped just such a friend put together a Caribbean get-away wardrobe. There were options galore on the floor at Macy’s. We went home with some nice one pieces that really did “take 10 lbs. Off”. I wish I’d known about Swankini when I went on this shopping expedition. I was strangely jealous. Where were the flattering suits for tiny women my size, with absolutely no chest?
Nine months later, I connected with Lois McCourt, through a friend of hers, Helen Miller, of Clarisonic, [], whom I met and enjoyed sea breezes with while learning about the the skin care system at Mercedes-Benz Miami Swim. Lois and I started a Face book dialogue. I liked what I saw on the line sheets and told her that I wished there were something like this for girls like me, who are size 0-2 and with a size AA bust, who want to wear a one-piece - and look glamorous, minus the usual cheesy padding. Yes, I can and do, as the late Nan Kempner
did, wear tiny bikinis, but I longed for the ease of a tankini. Lois said she had a friend who had the same problem, and that the "twisted" Swankini model looked great on her. When the package from Lois arrived, I immediately picked-out the hunter green twist front halter-top and bikini brief. I chose it over the black, for two reasons. Firstly, green is a hot color in RTW, and secondly, it matches “British Racing Green”.
The fabric is of a far greater quality than what’s used for the run of the mill designer swimsuit. It was of the same caliber as the ones Gideon Oberson and Amir Slama
design, ie: well constructed and versatile enough to wear as a top with RTW pieces I owned and ones I’d seen at the NYFW s/s2011 collections. Many Miami Swim fashion weeks ago, after Amir showed me an incredible bustier he’d created for Rosa Cha, I realized the styling potential these pieces had. The next day, I wore my black and white Missoni knit wave print tankini top over a white tee shirt with white cotton trousers, to stroll down Lincoln Road on my way to the Oribe Salon.

Taking it back to the present, I set about using my new Swankini suit as the anchor to my Miami wardrobe, and started researching what else to pack in my small carry-on bag. I consulted a stylish friend, Sarah Barton King, over lunch at an uptown French Bistro, Pascalou. Sarah
resembles the late Audrey Hepburn, in voice and manner She makes a Petit Bateau navy and blue sailor tee and skinny black capris and Supergas look incredibly chic. We were in the midst of a catch-up session and inspired, I whipped the Swankini suit out of my L.L. Bean Boat and Tote bag and told her in reminded me of old Hollywood glamour, and of the wonderful black and white photographs in the lobby bar
at the Raleigh. I was stuck on coming up with a more specific reference, though. She immediately came-up with Betty Grable and Vargas Girls, and maybe a little Marilyn [Monroe]. Vargas Girls - bingo! After a quick mental inventory of my walk in closet, I decided on my black vintage jersey Michael Kors palazzo pants. Sarah Okayed that, and suggested taking it further, and playing on the popular jewel tones in the recent RTW collections. On my wish list, the royal purple pant Diane Von Furstenberg showed at s/s2011 NYFW.
Lois, Diane, and Michael have really scored a home run, in that these two outfits would look good on a woman whether she’s a size 0 or 12. With the right accessories - I just added a vial of Pink Room Eau de Parfum,
'Pour Toi' Sarah gifted me to my travel bag.The shoes and sunglasses - still to be determined, [suggestions are welcome!]. Once I get those sorted, I will be “well turned-out” for this Miami trip.

Endnotes & Resources:
Sniffapalooza takes place in NYC, the weekend of October 23rd. Sarah will be lecturing and revealing her exciting new Pink Room UK fragrance then.
The Pink Room UK fragrances are available on

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