By Rhea Cortado
Without a plan and with the intention of “just looking,” I went to the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena. This is not a good idea. The Rose Bowl flea market is bigger than any flea market you have ever been to, multiplied by tens and a lot of it is redundant. If you get lost, there is no way someone can find you using descriptions like, “I’m by the booth with military duffle bags and leather moto jackets and Navajo rugs. Or look for piles of frayed Levi’s 501 shorts?” There are so many.
You must have focus about what you want; which is why I liked this one woman’s booth that was only selling vintage bathing suits. She had ludicrous 1980s jazzercise one-pieces and 1990s padded push-up underwire tops. She said she kills it pre-Coachella season when hipster band-aids need outfits for pool parties at The Ace Hotel. I tried on this 1960s one-piece and loved the print but the hard cone bra and itchy fabric was not comfortable for today’s beach splashing.
To get the same feeling with a much more modern fit and look, I love Marysia swimwear. It’s has a pretty vintage bathing beauty kind of classiness and grace—with scalloped edges, soft focus shades and vintage-inspired high waist and bra silhouettes—but not too precious or saccharine. The precise seamless finishing and fresh color-blocking combinations is very rich in an understated way. Looks like the perfect thing to wear during summers on the east coast (where Marysia is from), while doing a balletic cross-step on a foam and fiberglass balance beam surfboard.
25 Park Ave: NYC, NY
Van Jean: Columbia, SC
Morgan Kylee: Atlanta, GA
By Rhea Cortado
Every time I go home to Santa Cruz I have to get a raspberry napoleon at the locally famous Gayle’s Bakery . The crust is slim, airy and flakey and in just the right ratio proportions in relationship to the raspberry and whipped cream filling. Other napoleon’s will be an acceptable fix but will never be the same. I tried to take one home to L.A. in a cooler to share, but they never make the drive back. “All that butter in the crust, the melting whipped cream, it won’t keep right? We should eat it. We must eat it. Now. We cannot risk it spoiling and poisoning our guests.
Juliana Correa is lucky that her favorite things to share from her home in Colombia are not perishable goods. Her new swim and lingerie boutique, Lencería in West Hollywood imports all of her favorite Colombian and Latin American designers and brands that she grew up wearing or discovered during recent visits back (Amulette, Maaji, Agua Bendita, Touché and Saha are a few). Because she chose every piece, she can tell you a little biographical story and also some factoids about Colombia, while brewing an espresso. And offering sweet treat cookie or candy. Those can easily travel.
To read a little bit more about Lencería, see the story in California Apparel News
by Rhea Cortado
For a personal side project, I’ve been on a cooking bender. Every other day I am in a grocery store, a specialty food depot or one of the local farmer’s markets. Last week I bought a purple cauliflower purely because it was pretty. It tastes the same as a normal cauliflower and I don’t even particularly like cauliflower (if I had the choice of any vegetable to eat for my last supper, cauliflower would not be on the plate) but I was stunned by the ombre gradient hue that was like a purple sunset. The red side of the color wheel has been whispering to me lately—strawberries, beets and blood oranges—both for sweet flavors and photogenic vivid palette.
Monica Wise, designer of L*Space consistently has a spot on instinct for fresh colors in her swimwear, many of which reminded me of farmers market shades. Her Pinterest is a peek into her design room think tank, with pins of glassy blue ocean vacation destinations; and curry oranges and raspberry magentas seen in home décor textiles. Her genius is not the neon but the restraint; she drops the saturation of brightness in just the right amounts, making easy-to-wear and flattering bikini silhouettes suddenly new and eyebrow-raising.
Inquiries: Monica Wisefirstname.lastname@example.org
by Rhea Cortado
There are prints that people are conditioned to seeing on bikinis and swimwear. Tropical flowers. Stripes. Geometric shapes. Whatever prints are trending in ready-to-wear, like the tribal fever going on now. When I first saw Maaji’s swimwear at Surf Expo in Florida, I was mad about the prints and style lines that were in another fairytale universe from everything else on the show floor. The designer from Columbia makes all the prints and then links the pattern pieces together like a delirious kaleidoscope quilt of sea creatures and beach accoutrements drawings. I wanted to take a photo. But I couldn’t decide which one. I had to have the bandeau with laser cut scalloping and pastel rainbows, but that top didn’t have the zebras or deer. And then the seashells with paisley and snorkel drawings were super cute and playful in that Hello Kitty, Betsey Johnson or Tarina Tarantino family of whimsy, but also totally unique in its point of view. Here’s where buying tops and bottoms separately comes in extra handy, so you can create your own print story depending on your sea creature personality. And the suits are also fully reversible, should you ever be in that one-print kind of mood. But with such fun pictures to show off, we don’t think you ever will be or you’d be buying that predicable striped bikini.
Wholesale contact info: Kelly Ellingson
San Lorenzo: Waikiki, HI
Nic del Mar: Coral Gables, FL
Diane’ s Beachwear: Select locations, CA
by Rhea Cortado
photo by Bielmann/SPL, via surf.transworld.net
December and January is North Shore season in Hawaii. Without getting too technical, it’s when winter storm swell collides into the north side of the Hawaiian islands, waves are famously huge and that’s when all the big surf contests happen. I’ve been following the flesh and glory on surfing blogs, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Fans and pundits may disagree on many things when it comes down to the contest rankings, but there is one point in which they all agree. They like rear views in teeny bikinis. Photos of bronzed bums get the most “likes.” We all know that saying about dressing for boys (hotness) versus dressing for girls (stylishness) and these girls know their audience.
Bettinis Bikinis got its big break when designer Bettina Bell’s “Itsy” bikini was chosen and shot in one the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues and for good reason. Bettinis’ two pieces are cut to show some skin for line-free tanning and flaunting the bum (for the guys). But using crochet fabric, happy prints, smocking textures and ruffled trims, the suits have a very cute, girl-next-door kind of sweetness (for the girls). Sexy meets pretty.
Butterflies and Bikinis
Wholesale contact: Bettina Bell: email@example.com
Butterflies and Bikinis