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Swimwear: Dive in

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Swimsuit, €130, Jets by Jessika Allen;
shoes, €435, Miu Miu, Brown Thomas
Dublin and Cork; floral crystal necklace, €550;
crystal necklace, €110, both Cherry Chau Brown Thomas. All photos: German Collins

Swimsuit, €130, Jets by Jessika Allen; shoes, €435, Miu Miu, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork; floral crystal necklace, €550; crystal necklace, €110, both Cherry Chau Brown Thomas. All photos: German Collins

Bikini top, €100; bikini
bottoms, €95, both Heidi
Klein; sandals, €345,
Stella McCartney

Bikini top, €100; bikini bottoms, €95, both Heidi Klein; sandals, €345, Stella McCartney

Beach dress, €380, Gottex;
bikini bottoms, €66,
Aubade, both
Brown Thomas Dublin;
shoes, €195, Kurt Geiger, bag, €710, Celine,
Brown Thomas

Beach dress, €380, Gottex; bikini bottoms, €66, Aubade, both Brown Thomas Dublin; shoes, €195, Kurt Geiger, bag, €710, Celine, Brown Thomas

Kaftan, €364.90, Diane von Furstenberg;
bikini top, €95; bikini bottoms, €70,
both Aguaclara, all Brown Thomas Dublin;
sandals, €490, Miu Miu, Brown Thomas Dublin
and Cork; purse, €325, Lulu Guinness,
Brown Thomas

Kaftan, €364.90, Diane von Furstenberg; bikini top, €95; bikini bottoms, €70, both Aguaclara, all Brown Thomas Dublin; sandals, €490, Miu Miu, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork; purse, €325, Lulu Guinness, Brown Thomas

Swimsuit, €167.70, Jets by Jessika Allen;
necklace, €305; bangle, €37, both Cherry Chau,
all Brown Thomas Dublin

Swimsuit, €167.70, Jets by Jessika Allen; necklace, €305; bangle, €37, both Cherry Chau, all Brown Thomas Dublin

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Swimsuit, €130, Jets by Jessika Allen; shoes, €435, Miu Miu, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork; floral crystal necklace, €550; crystal necklace, €110, both Cherry Chau Brown Thomas. All photos: German Collins

In a fashion season that is taking so much inspiration and pleasure from eras such as the late Fifties, early Sixties, the Seventies and late Eighties, swimwear this year is very playful.

The Fifties is the dominant influence, so you will see a lot of itsy-bitsy polka dots, frills and femininity. We can relax about our bodies being not-so-pool-side buff, too, as the halter-neck maillot is a key trend: it’s pure goddess-body creating and, with this season also seeing a return to a very low cut on the leg and the addition of little skirts, or big frills, to cover the tops of the thighs, 2012 swimwear is about relaxing and feeling girlie.

Brown Thomas keeps an extensive year-round swimwear department, and Laura Daly, their assistant swimwear buyer, filled me in on trends and news.

Take the wonderful Gottex. Molly Grad, the creative director, has a background in fabric design and you can clearly see her strong creative influence on the label. Gottex’s uber-flattering construction is still there, catering for sizes 10 to 18, but dramatic new touches such as lavish jewels — very much a la Gianni Versace in the late Eighties — create visual drama and impact. The range also features some of the most stunning printed-silk maxi beach dresses I have seen in years, with oh-so-sexy slits and vents.

Maryan Mehlhorn is also a welcome addition to BT’s swim floor, as the range goes up to an F-cup.

Jets by Jessika Allen has long been one of my favourite swimwear brands within Brown Thomas. It just can’t be beaten for doing fabulous, body-flattering cuts combined with great fashion savvy. It’s never afraid to pick up on a catwalk trend and use it in a bikini. This season, the label provides even more function, as well as beauty. There are swimsuits with skirts for coverage, frills for fun, low-cut briefs for vintage lovers, high-cut for sun worshippers, along with a good selection of cup sizes. Seafolly are also great for this type of look and cup-size offering.

Other fashion trends this season include the return of hardware — be it jewels, chains and suchlike — by Gottex, Heidi Klein and Aguaclara. Colour is vibrant and evocative; from the quintessential navy and white combos seen at Jets — very big this season, especially in polka dots and stripes — to brights such as coral red, sunny yellow and dreamy acqua in nature-inspired prints, as by Seafolly.

Those who like their swimwear to be sophisticated — and sexy — should go directly to the plain, yet striking styles, in metallic hues by Aubade, prints by Diane von Furstenberg or white by Emporio Armani.

All swimwear, clothes and accessories featured are from Brown Thomas’s spring/summer 2012 collections.

Photographed by German Collins,

see www.germancollins.com

Assisted by Clara Hooper, David Mannion, Sarah Orr and Luca Truffarelli

Styling by Niamh O’Rourke, see www.niamhorourke.com Assisted by Claire Hayes

Make-up by Catherine O’Callaghan for Mac Cosmetics

Nails by Lauren McCluskey for Nails Inc at

Brown Thomas

Hair by Michael Leong, see www.michaelleong.net

Sunday Indo Life Magazine