Lycra is one form-hugging fabric that possesses a distinct ability to scare people, and understandably so. Packs of male cyclists embrace it and gym-fit sporty types wrap it around their well-toned body parts. But for the regular, normally non-lycra wearing female humans, its enveloping slink can be a terrifying proposition.
Unlike Australia’s northern and western flanks, it’s a predicament Melburnians don’t have to perspire over all year round. But summer is here and pretty soon it’s going to be hot enough for you to start traipsing around in skimpy attire and you’ll need something to wear when swimming in public situations.
Cut in a variety of ways and with all manner of trimmings, finding stylish, non-abrasive bathers can be a challenge.
To help you avoid the tiresome task of battling it out at some factory outlet, we’ve made a killer list of Australian designer bathers for you. Whether your summer style is vintage-inspired, active or chilled, we have this season’s best covered.
We Are Handsome
Based in Sydney, We Are Handsome is the brainchild of Indhra Chagoury and Jeremy Jules Somers. The animal motifs in their latest collection will have you nominating your summer spirit animal. ‘The Guardian’ features a majestic eagle; ‘The Messengers’ sports a beautiful native birds perched within greenery; and ‘The Poisons’ pack swirling hot-pink jelly fish. If that doesn’t get you excited, knowing that M.I.A. and Rihanna are big fans should. And they make really cute kids designs too.
Anna & Boy
Anna & Boy’s women’s collection celebrates the 60s and 70s style of a young sun-kissed Goldie Hawn or Britt Ekland – swoon! Mostly bikinis, there feature subtle, earthy prints as well as tropical kinds to get sandy in. Kuwaii’s white Circada platforms will look great with any of these.
Skye & Staghorn
Flashback to Venice Beach in the early 90s – this is a standout line in our list. The bathers are all black with that lime green and that orange trim. Perfect if you want to surf, then shoot hoops and then cool off again. Each piece is sporty and right for playing in waves and for looking hot while doing it.
Do you like crystals? Karla Spetic’s debut line of bathers, 'Crystal Visions', is emblazoned with magical mineral prints: agate, amethyst, sulphur, orange citrine, fluorite and green malachite. You will find love in these, or at least feel the part should you decide to start an ethereal electronic band this summer.
DIAZ and Emma Mulholland
Both DIAZ and Emma Mulholland have made one-off swimwear suits this season.
DIAZ creator Ana Diaz presents an early 60s-style cut bikini called the ‘Jungle Bikini’ as part of her SS12/13 collection. You can swan around in this at the Fitzroy Pools from sunrise to twilight and throw on her Mirage Dress when it’s time to leave for your first pina colada.
Emma Mulholland has a fan in fashion blogger Style Bubble. We could leave it there, but name-dropping alone may not entice you. ‘As Bad As I Guana Be’ is a bright, fun collection by the industry newcomer that boasts bomber jackets, mesh tops and what we distinctly remember calling ‘happy pants’ as kids. Her swimsuit is a two-piece bustier top and bottoms that promote the collection’s awesome fluoro green, signature iguana print.
The go-to for water-bound femmes who like a classic cut, Zimmerman’s latest swimwear line is beautiful as per usual. The ‘Wayfarer Ruched’ one-piece, available in fuchsia and a fiery orangey-red, is a knockout. You may feel tempted to don espadrilles and stay in this all summer. On an important, busty note, the bikinis on offer have underwire.
Channel your inner 80s siren. Or if you don’t think you have one, trawl for images of Christie Brinkley and Elle McPherson, but resist acquiring scuba-diving props and surfboards (unless you intend to use them). This collection comprises classic, modern styles with a sporty bent. The colours are bold and in solid blocks – navy, white, black, red and yellow.
Zulu & Zephyr
Zulu & Zephyr’s latest collection, Shaka, is a beach babe’s line. Cane, palm and tusk prints are available in soft yellows and pinks, not to mention a bold red one too. For those who like to embrace long beach days collecting shells, you’ve found your maker. Equal offerings of bikinis and one-pieces.
Melbourne gals adore Gorman, and always have. Their bold prints are just as fabulous in their swimwear range as they are on their frocks. Fifties-style one-pieces and high-waisted bottoms will make a screen goddess out of the most humble graphic designer.