Originally published in the Jul/Aug 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS magazine
By, Daisy Cabrera
Latinas love to make a fashion statement. It’s part of our cultura. Whether wearing a “barely there” bikini, sharp business suit or over-the-top ball gown – we dress to impress. At. All. Times. You know how we do! Now combine that deep-rooted love of fashion with extraordinary talent, and you’ve got yourself some powerful Latina designers making their mark in the industry.
The annual “Miami Swim Week” was proof that Latinas are running this motha! The event took place from July 13-19 in the nation’s year-round bikini capital – South Beach!
The “Instagrammable” festivities included fashion shows in state-of-art tents, cool pop-up stores, swank satellite venues, exclusive trade shows and luxurious pool soirees. Droves of fashionistas, stylists, socialites and blogueras scored front row seats – snagging coveted swag, basking in the latest trends and dancing the night away at the after parties.
It was quite the fashion fête, and Latina designers were front and center of it all. Time to suit up!
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Colombian designer, Andrea Gaviria, brought her OMG Swimwear collection (cover-ups, monokinis, bikinis) infused in striking fuchsia, sunflower, turquoise and emerald green. She shared, “I design pieces that create an illusion and highlight a woman’s curves, making her feel unique, sophisticated, and glamorous.” Celebrities who sport her sweltering designs include Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and Selena Gomez!
Sisters Manuela and Amalia Sierra created their artistic swimwear line, Maaji, inspired by the charm, beauty and diversity of Colombia. Proceeds of the fashion-forward collection (cover-ups, swimsuits, resort wear, accessories) help plant native trees in their country.
Lumé, by Colombian designer Paula Daza, thoughtfully combines artist paintings with design. “You don’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability,” she said. The line supports the Cartagena-based Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation, helping pregnant youth with much-needed resources.
Argentina was in the house! Mariana Cortes presented her Juana de Arco line – an easy-to-wear, colorful collection of relaxed styles that combines movement and comfort. She creates her own patterns to design A-line tanks, slip dresses, harem pants, leggings and more.
Mariana Lopez Osornio’s line, MLO Jewelry, is simply majestic! The Argentinean designer draws inspiration from eco-friendly, natural materials. She showcased her innovative “resort” jewelry collection filled with cow horn, brass, quartz, amazonite, turquoise and magnecite.
Liliana Villalobos is the dynamic Peruvian force behind Aguaclara. Think custom-made, ultra exotic swimwear pieces rooted in Amazon and Andean influences. The sophisticated silhouettes (monokinis, flowing dresses, cover-ups) in exclusively designed prints are to die for.
Raffaella Raffo Porcari’s poolside line, Capittana, is delightfully fresh, spirited and youthful. The Peruvian’s resortwear (bikinis, one pieces, bags, accessories, shorts) is all made in Peru.
Accessories anchor an outfit. Just ask the talented Dominican designer Erika Peña. She creates magnificent tribal necklaces, and it’s no wonder Jessica Alba wears her signature pieces! “I was put on earth to enhance a woman’s beauty,” she said, sharing her passion for the elements of the earth – volcanic and semi-precious stones, sea glass, wood, brass, onyx and more.
Puerto Rico, ho-oooooo! Former Miss Universe, actress, and TV host Zuleyka Rivera introduced her super playful, tropics-inspired line – ZK Swimwear, mesmerizing with its bright colors, romantic mesh embroidery and flirty silhouettes.
Lila Nikole’s self-titled collection, drawing inspiration from the aesthetic of native warriors, rocked the runaway with trend-setting monokinis, tangas, cover-ups and resortwear. The Boricua showcased custom prints in traditional African color palettes, and rich hues of red, orange, blue and purple.
On to Brazil! KRUZIN, the brainchild of Alessandra Gold, was all about sleek, street-inspired cool kicks. The ‘Sneaker Queen of Miami’ enjoys a celebrity following: Trina, Lil Wayne and Flo Rida.
Watching Brazilian designer Paula Hermanny’s line, ViX, luxuriating down the catwalk was a dream come true. Think St. Tropez meets Morocco meets Southeast Asia. The modern, warm hued resort wear – linens, cotton, silks wrapped in brass and gold accents – was a feast for the eyes. Count Gisele Bündchen and Jessica Alba among the charmed fans.
Sinesia Karol’s sparkling couture collection stole the spotlight! The Brazilian’s line, which celebrates women with impeccable designs, includes cover-ups made with luxe silk and chiffon. The fabrics feature the art of Brazilian talent Ana Paula Castro.
Spanish actress Penélope Cruz and her sister Monica co-designed the L’Agent by Agent Provocateur collection of chic, edgy and seductive pieces with carefully placed zippers, colorful lace and intricate embroidery.
And, what’s fashion without a little sabrosura? Vikina Lopez, born to Cuban and Ecuadorian parents, is a force to be reckoned with! The talented singer performed a rich fusion of reggaeton, urban bachata and Latin pop onstage. The show was LIT!
Until next time, Miami Swim Week! And, bravo!