Saturday 19 October, 2019

Pictured: Bikini Cabana brings the hottest swimwear trends to Runway

On Thursday 27 June, Bikini Cabana hosted the third instalment of its swim and resort wear fashion show aptly titled Runway.

Veronique’s in St Clair was awash with bright lights and chatter as patrons socialised over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while they waited for the show to begin. Just before the first models took to the runway, violinist David Frank entertained the crowd with some renditions of pop and soca songs.

Bikini Cabana owner, Vanessa Mohammed launched Runway in 2016 based on her own experience working in the fashion industry and wanting to create an occasion that was not just a fashion show, but a night out for patrons.

‘’Because the experience was just so lovely, I wanted to then create something like that but I wanted to create more than just a fashion show, I wanted to create an evening. So you get dressed up and you go out but it lasts longer than just a half an hour – because most runway shows are just twenty minutes to half an hour long. I wanted to create an evening where people could come out and have lovely drinks, lovely food, you go out and spend the evening there.”

The show featured three brands – Couttsea, J Madison Swim and Bikini Cabana. 

With band launch season upon us, it was only fitting that first on stage were models clad in swimsuits accessorised with feathered backpacks from Carnival band Bliss.

Next up, and making its debut on the runway, was Couttsea, a resort wear line by Carly Coutts.

Coutts started designing Couttsea in 2017 as a way to channel her love of the ocean into a clothing line that helped women feel confident and beautiful in a swimsuit on the beach.

“I really started because growing up, body image has been something that I’ve dealt with and being on the beach, in the ocean, is my sanctuary and somewhere that I love. And unfortunately with that comes the feeling of self-consciousness, being in a bikini. So I really started the brand out of wanting women to feel at peace in such a peaceful place and finding that confidence within themselves in a place that I truly love, which is anywhere near the ocean.” 

Couttsea brought that message to the stage quite literally, with models emerging from backstage wearing black boxes over their heads saying ‘Be Your Beautiful’.

Once they removed the boxes, the models exuded confidence and joy strutting up and down the runway in Couttsea’s range of wraps, kimonos, throw overs and dresses. 

The ornate fabrics used in the collection were sourced by Coutts and her mom on their travels to India and the United Arab Emirates. 

Notably, the Couttsea presentation closed with the only plus-sized model of the night sporting a vibrant blue Aztec print throw over. The model, Coutts explained, is her best friend who has been with her every step of the way on her designing journey, so it was only fitting that she would play a key role in the brand’s runway debut. 

Bikini Cabana Runway 2019

J Madison Swim, designed by Monique Nobrega, best known for her head designer role at Carnival bands TRIBE and Bliss was up next, sending out models decked out in sheer, sexy cover-ups. 

Despite the largely simple silhouettes, J Madison Swim’s collection offered up a sophisticated twist on poolside glamour. 

The standout pieces included a black wide-legged jumpsuit and burgundy coordinated top and trouser set that would feel as appropriate in a cocktail party as a poolside cabana.

The evening’s show closed with the host’s presentation. 

Bikini Cabana showcased swimsuits from top swimwear brands like Vix, Melissa Odabash, Beach Bunny, Revel Rey Swim and Peixoto paired with Bikini Cabana’s own line of resort wear. 

Mohammed explained that she started designing resort wear in 2017 to give her customers more options in terms of cover ups to complement their swimwear.

She said customers were coming to her asking for simpler pieces to wear over their monokinis without covering them up too much. After listening to client feedback she started purchasing fabrics when she travelled to create her own resort wear designs.

“It’s just basically listening and hearing what people wanted and just trying to have a space where you can come into my store and find what you want - whether you are 30, 40, 50 or 60, we have something for everybody. That was really what drove me to start my own little thing. I said I’ll just start small and work my way into something bigger.” 

In keeping with the global trends, whole pieces dominated the runway. Mohammed said whole pieces have been some of the more sought-after styles in store, with a wide range of customers, regardless of age or size, preferring more covered but still flattering options. 

The swimwear and resort wear shown on stage became available for purchase on the Saturday following the show, but Mohammed said people began reserving pieces immediately after the event finished. 

While Runway remains her only major show for the year, Mohammed also hosts sip and shop events at her store and in San Fernando and said she is keen on growing her customer base in south Trinidad.

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