Tibi, Custo Barcelona debut bold swimwear

By Lisa Orkin Emmanuel

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – If you’re going to wear swimsuits from the new Tibi and Custo Barcelona collections, you’re got to be comfortable with making a real splash.

With bright colors, bold prints and attention-attracting contrasts, both fashion houses debuted their collections Friday night during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim at the Raleigh Hotel.

At Tibi, designer Amy Smilovic went back to original prints that she made in Indonesia years ago, enlarging and placing them on unexpected parts of the bathing suits. She said she didn’t want to create the repeat motifs seen on most bathing suits.

“It’s very bold and strong colors, but mixed with really subdued and chic colors,” Smilovic said. “The inspiration is really the Tibi girl … We do not call her ‘wallflower’ at all.”

Flowers and vibrant colors are strewn throughout the collection. For example, a purple and pink flower looks like it’s scattered on an orange bikini, so that half of the petals are visible in one area.

A strapless bikini top made of orange, purple and white was shown with matching boy-shorts bottoms. A turquoise tunic is decorated with a shapes that look like waves.

Smilovic said she mixed teal and turquoise with olive greens and browns; she also chose dark green, apricot and lots of bright colors reminiscent of the 1980s.

Only one simple swimsuit is included in the collection, a sleek, black, one-shouldered piece.

Tibi also showed cover-ups to take the suits elegantly from pool to party: A white beaded tunic and a burnt orange colored one-sleeved caftan, for example.

At Custo Barcelona, unusual textures and colors were mixed together to carry on the line’s signature style.

“The essence is the Custo essence, the unusual mix of colors and fabrics,” said Custo stylist Bernat Buscato. “It’s anti-matching.”

Burned-out velvet was a favorite, showing up on a turquoise and brown bikini, and a green velvet bikini with pink lace and a blue stripe. A black nylon windbreaker also hit a similar note with its velvet trim.

“It’s a little urban, for a city that has a beach like Miami, like Barcelona, cities on the sea,” Buscato said.

One of the show’s producers said expanding into swimwear is a way to reach new clients.

“It’s a lifestyle that they are trying to create,” said Christina Neault, associate producer of the event. “Swimwear is a little more accessible.”