Miami Beach swim shows ride wave of old glamour

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Old glamour is back in a big way, or at least that’s the indication from this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim fashion shows.

Hot pink proved to be the hottest hue, furthering an already popular ready-to-wear look. It was all over the runways at the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach, as were bathing suits adorned with jewelry and hardware.

There also was a lot of transparent material, creating seductive illusions to tempt the crowd of retailers, editors and stylists previewing 2010 trends. As for shape: It was all about the bandeau and the monokini (attached bikini) or cutout one-pieces.

The shows, which ended Sunday night, displayed many high-waisted and ruffled looks. Many bathing suits were sexy in a feminine way — not overtly flashing a lot of skin.

Cover-ups and beach dresses also played an important role in many collections, and the legend of Gianni Versace still loomed large in his adopted hometown.

Gretta Monahan, a stylist and co-host of Bravo’s “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style,” was in town to host the Xtra Life Lycra show.

“I think sexy will be reinvented for 2010,” she said. Women will see “that they can wear a lot more, but still look sexy.”

Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman’s first runway show for swimwear was dominated by neon pink, turquoise and silver, although at times it looked as if she used the whole rainbow. There were scarab and feather prints.

Some models wore long beaded necklaces that were attached in the front and back and went over the bathing suits, giving them a funky, hippie look.

A black two-piece was topped with a netlike cover-up that Ms. Hoffman said resembled a hammock. There was also a one-piece with a digital print of the galaxy and a long gown with the same print. A black one-piece was adorned with multicolored fringe hanging from the neckline. A multicolored-feather print was made into a jumpsuit, with beading at the bustline.

Ms. Hoffman said her inspiration was a “visionquest in the desert … a spiritual journey into the desert.”

There was a long aqua caftan with red and black zigzags around the edges. A silver bikini was paired with a silver braided headband. Some models wore turbans.

“We always go in an ethnic direction,” the designer explained.

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