Hot stuff: The swimsuit issue
Dare I compete with the postman in Donegal who predicted last winter's weather so accurately? Oh, I think I will be daring. It feels like it did back in 1995 -- the year of our monumental heatwave. When Irish men and women transformed from being pale-skinned, geansai-clad, mousy beings to tanned, near-naked, Bondi beach babes. This March saw some lovely days, while April oozed heat.
Come on, let's be optimistic and imagine we are going to have a summer to remember. Let's get excited about fresh air on our skin, lounging in sun-baked gardens and romantic meals al fresco.
Swimwear this year is mad to get us to live a sybaritic life. "Lush colours, animal print, earth tones, hot and tropical prints, sexy asymmetric shoulders, sheer fabrics, streamlined, sophisticated shapes, fabulous hardware in terms of embellishment -- this is a bold season when it comes to swimwear," Mary Mullin, group lingerie and swimwear buyer for Brown Thomas, told me.
The bikini never goes away, but this season it seems to rule supreme, with the triangle as the queen bee. Not surprising, since the Sixties and Seventies are key influences this year.
"Margherita Mazzei's inspiration was Andy Warhol's muse, Edie Sedgwick. It's a mid-Sixties look," Mary told me. "Other ranges were influenced by their fashion collections -- Diane von Furstenberg [DVF] and Pucci used prints from their main collections."
Brown Thomas is, as far as I know, the sole Irish stockist of sexy French label Aubade's swimwear line. They also carry the excellent Jets, hip-chick label Melissa Odabash and, new to the store, Heidi Klein.
As is Spanx swimwear! "How can Spanx ever be sexy?" I ask Mary.
"Sexy is different for everyone," she says. "Smaller seems sexier and is more the younger customer's taste. Yet, Spanx is ultra sexy. I have to say I was very surprised. We are so used to all their nude support-wear. But apart from the great fabrics and sexy styling, they have lovely details and they do block colours, which are more flattering to the body."
Gottex, too, has a huge following among women who want to look sophisticated and beautiful.
Generally, swimwear starts from size 8, but Italian sizing is very small, so don't be depressed if you have to size up. But 8-16 is standard. Gottex and Freya go to size 20 (and a 38G cup); Fantasie, available in Cork and Limerick, up to a 38 HH cup; Jets goes up to a DD and E cup in some styles and have a mastectomy option.
As in bras, good fitting is essential when buying swimwear, so be sure to try it on first.
All swimwear featured is available from Brown Thomas stores nationwide.
All accessories are from Brown Thomas Dublin Brown Thomas Dublin, 88-95 Grafton St, D2, tel: (01) 605-6666, or see www.brownthomas.com
Brown Thomas Cork, 18-21 Patrick St, Cork, tel: (021) 480-5555
Brown Thomas Limerick, 14-16 O’Connell St Limerick, (061) 417-222 Brown Thomas Galway, 18-21 Eglinton Buildings Galway, tel: (091) 565-254
Photography by Daniel Holfeld, see www.danielholfeld.com
Styling by Courtney Smith, see www.courtneysmith.ie
Make-up by Natasha Napoli using Mac Cosmetics
Hair by Majic salon at Seapoint, Cape Town, South Africa
Model: Jana at Boss Model Management, Cape Town, South Africa
Shot at Ocean View, Cape Town, South Africa
With special thanks to Ludovic Berthelin and the Cape Town tourism board
Sunday Indo Life Magazine