Advice from a Brazilian Beachwear Designer
I’m not very daring in my beachwear. When it comes to swimsuits, I stick to the traditional two-piece bikini with a halter tie top. And when I’m feeling extra bloated or out of shape, I go for the tried and trusted tankini — always in solid colors, usually a neutral or muted primary. How boring!
I bet a lot of us Washingtonian women could use a little confidence and a little more swimwear with style! This is just what Brazilian-born designer Emily Gonzaga came to D.C. to do. She recently debuted her new D’Milikah swimwear collection of bold and vivacious patterns with flattering cuts on the Georgetown waterfront. And with her designs, even I would dare to bare all in her eclectic and sexy swimwear!
Gonzaga is the designer and founder of swimwear company, D’Milikah. Her new High Summer Blurry Feminine collection is an exciting blend of ’80s vibes and bold animal prints. Select pieces from the original collection were first debuted earlier this year when D’Milikah was invited to be part of the official Grammy celebrity gift lounge in Los Angeles. The line was then asked to also be a part of the official Oscars gift bag. The company recently showcased the whole collection in the D.C. area with a special waterfront fashion show.
Gonzaga was kind enough to answer a few questions I had on upcoming trends in swimwear and give advice to women in picking that perfect suit:
DC on Heels: What originally inspired you to design swimwear?
Emily Gonzaga:I started after realizing that every woman has some sort of body “issue.” It doesn’t matter where you are from nor your genetics. We all have a love and “hate” relationship at some time of our lives with our bodies. Coming from a physical education background, I thought about creating a line that pleases women of every shape and form, yet still keeping the Brazilian flair as part of the design.
DCOH: Why have you chosen to stay and pursue fashion in D.C. in particular?
Gonzaga: It is funny how often I am asked just that! LOL. I came to live in the U.S. because I got married, and the D.C. area is where my husband is from, so it just so happens that I live here. These days you can live in Alaska and maintain a swimsuit business. Between emails and phone calls, it is in a heartbeat that the world can be in the palm of your hands. And guess what? You can go to shows and trade shows all over the country, and that is what D’Milikah has been doing. We have also sold to Australia, the Middle East and Brazil. D.C. has a fun flavor of the United Nations itself. Everywhere you turn, you are able to hear different languages, find different flavors and smells from all over the world in one park or in one shopping center. I guess that is what makes the “charm” of the capitol of our nation, it is the multiculturalism that lives in here, and that is definitely very fashionable.
DCOH: Can you tell me a little about your new collection? What were your inspirations for it? What kind of women was it designed for?
Gonzaga: The new collection is called Blurry Feminine and it features fun animal prints with a touch of the ’80s. The prints and colors are vibrant and catchy. The inspirations come form Brazil and play to the “blurry side” of every woman and her hidden secrets. Good or bad, they are secrets and we like to have and maintain them. The collection is designed for every woman with a strong personality who is willing to dare and to feel comfortable in her own skin.
DCOH: What are some trends you see in swimwear? Any trends to avoid? Any you especially like?
Gonzaga: We are seeing a lot of one-piece swimwear. This season the one-piece suit made famous by the designer Maillot is not only made for what society considers “older” ladies. This season one piece is super in, with a touch of ’80s and very bright colors. Also, we are seeing the famous highwaist everywhere, and that is super great for women who want a more conservative look. We are seeing a lot of bright and strong color blocking combinations mixed with prints, crochet, macramé and embroidery. We are seeing these influences in other areas of summer wardrobes as well. When it comes to swimwear, there is nothing much to avoid. What needs to be understood is your body type in order to enhance what you most like in your body and how to distract from what you would like to “hide.” This season, I’m in love with all the crochet work, which we are also seeing as part of previews for 2014, and it will most be a major part of designs next summer as well.
DCOH: What advice would you give to women when it comes to picking out swimwear?
Gonzaga: First decide what you would like to accentuate on your body. Once you understand your body type, that will help you to choose the right swimsuit. Choose colors and fabrics that will highlight your best features and downplay your less-loved parts. Also, it is important to know the primary usage of your piece. For example, bikinis are fairly limiting in terms of active workouts in a pool or the sea, but a more solid and flexible tankini would hang in there with no problems. However, sports swimsuits often have added features to help with extra support, streamlining and comfort, so check them out if you’re planning on doing more than keeping cool by the pool or seaside. If you’re planning to be lounging, you have a bit more flexibility so you can really have fun with your style!