In summer holidays, a 24-hour swimsuit is a given. From a prebreakfast dip to sundowners, a pair of sandals and a slip dress is all that’s needed to extend its life across 10 days in Mykonos and a stop-off at Hong Kong’s Four Seasons infinity pool on the way home. But what happens when you land back in reality and it’s no longer acceptable to order drinks at g the bar sans pants? Not a problem, according to designers championing swimwear as ready-to-wear in a look that surprisingly transcends the runway and offers up some real-life styling tips to help you get the most mileage out of your designer suit.
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First, what this is not. Believe us when we say you should think twice about heading straight from the swim meet to a management meeting. It’s important to realise there are some limitations to how and when this works. Paco Rabanne’s chrome one-piece, for example, can segue from poolside to office if you reframe it as a bodysuit and team it with wide-leg tailored trousers, like creative director Julien Dossena did for AW17-18. Take it a step further by shrugging on a blazer, leaving just a sliver of silver spandex to hint at your sun-worshipping side. Groomed hair and makeup is crucial here. This is no place for chlorine-soaked strands and a bad case of swimmer’s eye.
Heading into party season though, that’s where the real fun begins. One just has to look at the resort 2018 collections for a how-to in taking a daytime essential to the dance floor. Ever a man after our heat-seeking hearts, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele teamed his lone blue-and-red swimsuit with metallic trackpants, gold heels and green socks for doing laps by the DJ booth after dark. There was a similar approach at Hermès, albeit a more cohesive message in head-to-toe scarlet, where bandanas tied around waists mirrored Karl Lagerfeld’s nifty scarf skirts at Chanel. Lagerfeld, the father of reinvention, paired his one-pieces with gladiator heels and luxe bags that won’t be seeing the sand any time soon. Meanwhile, Tommy Hilfiger’s cossie and cropped jacket combo was a lesson in maximising your maillot, especially when teamed with this season’s midi skirt.
And let’s not forget the woman who truly gets just how liberating repurposing summer swimwear can be, Nicky Zimmermann. The Sydney-based, internationally acclaimed designer has long been selling the benefits of a wardrobe worked around waterwear. See her relaxed summer suit and crop top in matchy prints for definitive proof it can work for you. Because if you’re going to invest in a designer suit, you might as well show it off. And if you’re all in for a summer of sun, surf and countless swims, you’d better be ready for anything.
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