The hottest beachwear for summer 2015 in Hong Kong
This season's beachwear trends range from peekaboo mesh and bright bikinis in hi-tech fabrics to classy retro monochrome one-pieces. We quiz local tastemakers for tips on how to sizzle this summer
The face behind Hong Kong clothing label Tangram, Paola Sinisterra loads her designs with print and colour. If you're averse to both of these, shield your eyes now. "For me, the more, the better. I love to mix colours that aren't supposed to go together … blue and orange is my favourite pairing lately."
Clashing tones are also a favourite of Australian designer Anna Coroneo, whose summer scarf collection shows off funky animal prints in pinks, oranges, mint greens and blues. Pop artists such as Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol inspired Coroneo's colourful combos, which come in 100 per cent chiffon and modal fabrics.
"I love big chunky necklaces and I always wear a colourful silk or cotton scarf," says Sinisterra. J. Crew and Faliero Sarti are great for simple scarves to add texture to outfits or for casual wear on the beach.
Beach bags are crucial for hauling your gear down the beach. Marni has floral PVC totes in tropical palettes that will give any ensemble a blast of colour, while queen of quirk Monki is all about zodiac animals and fast food graphics on linen and cotton monochrome totes.
Buying for Lane Crawford's summer collection is driven by more than just trends, says Kelly Wong, general merchandise manager at Lane Crawford. "It's all about colours that will look great in the sun, and choosing the most body-flattering suits. If it looks attractive, feels good on, and makes you look great, there's no reason why it won't be popular."
For a girly look, Wong recommends the scallop-edged swimsuit brand, Marysia, while Mara Hoffman's geometric neon colours and high-waisted bottoms complete a vintage look. "Beth Richards is for sporty surfers, while T by Alexander Wang has a few great scuba pieces that can be worn as swimwear or with the ready-to-wear collection."
Ted Baker has a range of swimwear prints so bright they rival the colour scheme of a Calippo icepop. Tropical toucan and paisley prints go well with a tan, there are sweetheart and keyhole necklines on traditional designs that include sexy mesh panel one-pieces and white- and gold-striped bikinis. Cos also loves stripes this season, offering a range of minimalist bralette bikinis in red and white and blue and white stripes.
Neoprene is on all the racks this season, prompting us to wonder if there's been sponsorship from the dive certifiers at Padi. Forever 21 has a sports luxe collection in block neon mints and yellows, and Australian brand Triangl, which ships to Hong Kong, offers a broad range of neoprene two-pieces in a bright palette. Duskii is big on the sports luxe swimwear, offering Bond girl bathers in multicoloured animal prints, and black and white options for the more reserved swimmer.
Smith adds that sports luxe suits are great for bringing something different to the beach. "Minimal and sleek, sports luxe is often monochromatic with high-cut necklines. Not bust-baring as bikinis typically are, they emphasise the collarbone and shoulders."
For the fuller bust, Victoria's Secret lets online lets shoppers personalise a bikini by print and cut, and has plenty of colours and cuts to create a bespoke look. Fringing has made its way onto the swimwear scene, adding gusto to simple designs. Complete the Ibiza-chic glamour puss look with a bit of decorative hemwork as seen at Zara, and H&M's Coachella-inspired collection, launched this summer.
What swimsuits are on the catwalks this season? Wong says the two-piece has been overtaken by retro cuts and traditional designs. "It's no longer just about the bikini set any more - '80s one-piece suits are making a comeback as are shoestring halter necks and scoop backs," she says. "Sandals are referencing '70s pool shoes like the simple wide single-band sandal that Céline made beautifully this season."
Hong Kong labels have also revived classic cuts, offering strait-laced but original options that won't cripple your credit rating. Now in its 12th year, Sabina Swims has a collection of halter necks, bandeaus and triangle bikinis with cute, traditional prints in sedate colours to suit many skin tones. The latest collection also has long-sleeved zipped jackets for additional sun protection and reversible beach bags in a range of new prints.
Another local label is MerCulture, which covers a more luxurious aesthetic with elaborate designs inspired by designer Natasha J. Cotton's travels across Central Asia. Exotic colours and feminine cuts make up the bulk of the line, and there is a strong current of South Asian and Middle Eastern influences throughout.
When swimwear shopping, Hong Kong stylist and founder of #HKFashionBloggers Jasmine Smith says to consider suits as an investment. "Swimwear is an extension of your everyday wardrobe, that if chosen correctly, should suit your body shape and reflect your style. Take the time to find one that is well-made, fits well and makes you feel nothing less than stunning."