Meet the swimsuit line underpinned by serious fashion credentials. Founder Nicole Banning was designing for Yves Saint Laurent before she launched Ephemera. This Paris-based Aussie brings a high-fashion sensibility to her pared-back suits, with figure-flattering constructions like darts and under-wiring. The result is a collection of high-waisted bikinis and beautifully simple one-pieces, offering an elegant fit that’s worth the investment.
LILLIPUT & FELIX
Designer Catriona Ramsay’s personality-packed swimwear embodies two concepts that are close to our hearts: she designs swimsuits that are customisable and sustainable. The first is a no-brainer. Our bodies come in all shapes and sizes, so finding a suit that can be adjusted here and there is a game-changer for many. As for her planet-friendly ethos, we love that Catriona uses reclaimed textiles and recycled fabrics to create her flattering, retro range.
MADE BY DAWN
Growing up in Hawaii, Dawn Peterson was rarely out of her bikini. However, when the former model went in search of a cool swimsuit as a grown-up, the cupboard was bare. She now resides in the West Coast of America, designing playful pieces with all the details she craved. Think subtle ruffles, pleats, fringing and bows. The devil is in the detail here – while the costumes may have gorgeous, inventive flourishes, they are cut for movement. Meaning that when you elegantly dash after a sand-flinging toddler, your swimsuit stays firmly in place.
Minimalists, stop your search. Based in New York, fashion editor Brittany Kozerski designs sleek, simple swimsuits in a neutral palette, with a fashion-forward girl in mind. The idea is as simple as it is clever: her suits act like a clean canvas for women who would rather bring their own sense of style to their beach look. Crafted in sustainable Italian fabrics, we love that Brittany’s minimal one-pieces can double as bodysuits, making them perfect for holiday layering and wearing in the off-season too.
SOLID & STRIPED
Effortlessly cool, this is the brand we go to for a bold colour palette executed in clean cuts with a contemporary edge. Chances are, this New York-based brand has already popped up in your feed, as come August the suits will be tagged by influencers and models from the decks of super-yachts and Europe’s most beautiful beaches. We love the 90s vibe and flattering fit of their signature suit, especially in colour blocks and classic stripes.
For anyone who’s ever suffered through beach-side cocktails in a salty swimsuit, designer Arabella MacRitchie has your back. She set out to reimagine swimwear as multifunctional pieces you can wear well beyond the beach. Her collection consists of six elegant, fully-lined silhouettes in ivory, plum, navy and black, made from Italian fabric. But perhaps our favourite thing about Arabella’s body-sculpting suits is a thoughtful design detail called the ‘signature convex curve’, which avoids the tucking of bikini bottoms (colloquially known as a wedgie).
Some of the most stylish women we know buy their lingerie from Bodas. With designs that are as beautiful as they are basic, it’s one of those word-of-mouth places that once discovered, will make you marvel that you ever bought underwear anywhere else. Given their understanding of the female form, the swimwear is not only beautifully made, but also cut to flatter and fit all shapes and sizes. Take the Plunge one-piece, for instance. We are yet to meet a woman this timeless classic doesn’t suit.
With a global fanbase, this minimalist Australian label by a former Vogue director and her sister has an instantly recognisable aesthetic: classic shapes with contemporary lines and an excellent fit. These comfortable, understated swimsuits work like a wardrobe neutral – we’ve found they look as good worn under an oversized linen shirt as alone with a statement maxi skirt. Keep an eye out for the brand’s super-wearable, modern beachwear too.
Subtle frills, shimmering embellishment and eye-catching prints define the aesthetic of this Athens-based line, which is feminine, colourful and just the right kind of sexy. Perfect if you like to make a statement on the beach, we love that Emmanuela Lykou designs her swimsuits to behave a little like shapewear, offering figure-flattering support and smoothing. Um, yes please. And if you fancy a mini-me moment on your next vacation, her designs come in sizes for younger girls too.
The brains behind this LA-based brand, Maria Reeves, is a former surfer and ballet dancer who knows a thing or two about creating activewear that feels as good as it looks. So, while these suits are certainly pretty, they fit perfectly too. The brand has developed a loyal following from stylists and editors for traditional bikinis with a girlish edge. Think sophisticated scalloped and zig-zag details, as well as unexpected cut-outs.
Inspired by the dreamy island life in Greece, designer Marilena Andreadis’ swimsuits are totally fuss-free, ticking that minimalist box, but they still include elevated details like one-pieces in cool monochromatic prints, and bikinis with side-ties and a little frill. They’re all made locally too, which we love.
FAITHFULL THE BRAND
The brainchild of Norwegian Helle Them-Enger and Australian Sarah-Jane Abrahams, we’ve always loved Faithfull The Brand for their effortless, summer-loving fashion and barely-there swimwear. All lightness and femininity, their bikinis are perfect for those who love the feel of the sun on their skin – and don’t mind high-cut bottoms.
With summer holidays around the corner, the time has come to consider your swimsuit. At Wardrobe ICONS, we believe the right piece of beach attire is a holiday game-changer. And while we love a quick pick from the high street, there are a handful of designers creating swimwear that really is a cut above the rest. We’re talking about flattering lines, contemporary cuts and body-smoothing fabrics. Because, you know, we’re just a little fussy when it comes to stripping down to a fairly small piece of fabric in the scorching sun. Here, we’ve rounded up the smaller brands on our radar, all producing pieces that are worth the investment. Take a look. After all, find a style that fits and flatters your body, and it becomes a staple you’ll reach for year after year.
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