Retro Bikinis: Baring It All On The Beach Is So Out!
When it comes to swimwear this summer, Europe's fashionistas say covering it up can be super cool.
MILAN - The retro trend that in the past two seasons has influenced lingerie – "guepieres' and corsets a la Betty Grable included – is now invading beaches. Whether she's on a yacht or a posh island, the 2011 fashionista is likely to wear a bathing suit that looks like what her grandma might have sported in the 1950s. Except for the materials, which today are high-tech and fast-drying.
It doesn't even matter that the tan line will be invasive: tan is out of fashion anyway – for aesthetic as well as health reasons. Whatever amount of flesh you choose to bare, make sure it's not too toasty.
Fashion gurus say "No" to strings and beads, to iridescent colors, to invasive tattoos and wide-brimmed hats. Yes to classic models inspired by Grace Kelly, sporting espadrilles in "To Catch a Thief," or Liz Taylor wearing her legendary white swimsuit in "Suddenly, Last Summer."
Fashion historian Quirino Conti says that "a simple swimsuit can become the symbol of a return to more solid aesthetic criteria. No wonder we feel nostalgic toward everything and everybody: Experimentation turned out to be a disappointing trap."
Dolce & Gabbana, whose success is largely due to an artful mix of retro and unconventional style, have created some pieces that look straight out of early-1900 corsets, and a floral bikini with bottoms that go well up the stomach. The duo told the Financial Times, which looked into the trend, that they have always been inspired by "traditional corsetry" and that a woman who covers up is sexy because a lot is left to one's imagination.
From Diane Von Furstenberg to Michael Kors and Christian Dior, it's all about drapes, pinces and styles reminiscent of early Brigitte Bardot. Animal prints are in too, though it's more Ava Gardner than "Survivor."
The style is accessible to fashion victims with all budgets. Along with the high-fashion names, mid-market brands such as Zara and H&M are following the same trend.
What matters is choosing a style that suits one's body (even the most curvaceous women can find satisfaction) and accessorize it in the right way – perhaps even daring scarlet lipstick just to emphasize the message.
A big bikini bottom can make a woman feel confident and look leaner. But ladies beware, if it hides a bit of belly, it doesn't do the same for a big "derriere" – quite the opposite. Why not wear a nice long skirt at the beach and really act like a grand dame from another era?
photo - James Paterson