- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Welcome to the jungle.

The latest swimwear trends have a wild side this season, with animal and tropical foliage prints seen on the runways at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2014 at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach. Orange made a splash at the Cia.Maritima (now CM) and Nanette Lepore shows. And the must-have accessary this season is a bold necklace, from the oversized rosary-style crosses seen at Poko Pano to the gold-covered medal necklaces at Dolores Cortes.

Newcomer Maaji made its swim week debut, as did Lepore and Betsey Johnson. And Mara Hoffman was named the Mercedes-Benz Presents Designer this season, recognizing her work using quality materials, unique style and innovative design.


PHOTOS: Hot summer style: Highlights from Miami Fashion Swim


Swim week, featuring nearly three dozen designers, started on Thursday and ran through Monday.

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AGUA BENDITA

Colombian duo Catalina Alvarez and Mariana Hinestroza showed an eclectic mix again this season, from a leather-looking vest with studs to safari-themed suits with corresponding backpacks and a traveler’s briefcase covered in badges. Snakeskin prints in bright colors also made their way into the collection, along with neon beadwork and other embellishments.

Keeping with the jungle theme of the season, Agua Bendita showed a blue monokini in a bold elephant print with a contrasting pattern that lined the top. Kaftans and fringed-crop tops were adorned with animal prints, including a lion face with matching backpack.

The one-piece with tribal pattern was a standout, with the image of binoculars in colorful beadwork appearing as if hanging over the model’s neck.

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POKO PANO

Designer Paola Robba pays homage to her homeland with designs inspired by myths, legends and beliefs of Brazil.

In soft pastels and warm tones of burnt orange and lilac, Robba included animal prints such as penguins and jaguars in her 40-plus collection for Poko Pano. Gold-plated hardware appeared on bikini tops and bottoms as well as handmade, eco-friendly beads — with oversized crosses, resembling a rosary.

Orange and red were prevalent in this collection, including a red polka-dot triangle top with printed bottom.

“I love strong colors because Brazil is a colorful place,” Robba said.

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