While you’re out on the family boat or tanning in your yard, the only requirement for your suit is that it covers the slices of prime real estate. But anyone who has stepped onto the cement deck of a casino pool knows that if you throw on any old bit of lycra you’re going to look piteously out of place.
To fit in with the fashionable poolsiders, take a few tips from Hard Rock Retail Director Krista Tye, who scopes out fashion shows in LA, Miami and New York and brings the hottest ensembles home to Fuel, Love Jones and the Hard Rock store.
“The ruched backing is where it’s at,” says Nicole Dineen, Tye’s counterpart and general manager of Love Jones. Ruching is a new technique in swimwear – a line sewn down the middle of the bikini bottoms’ back (the butt crack, if you will) gathers the fabric together and causes the suit to ride higher on your cheeks, creating a fuller appearance. “Everyone wants a ruched back.”
Love Jones is mainly stocked with lingerie—even, as I discovered to my pleasant surprise, stylish paddles and whips—but also carries suits by Beach Bunny, basically waterproof lingerie that make good use of ruching.
“Beach Bunny has a cult following,” explains Dineen. “Girls that know Beach Bunny collect them. They do a lot of lingerie-based swimwear: very girly, very frilly, very sexy.”
Tye agrees: “For the girl who wants to pretend that she just walked out of the bedroom, there’s Beach Bunny.”
For the girl who doesn’t want to pretend that she just walked out of the bedroom, the Hard Rock store carries several brands: Elizabeth Hurley, L Space, Guess, Luli Fama, which often appears in Sports Illustrated, and Vitamin A.
“We go to a lot of [swimwear] shows and the best suits are from Guess,” Tye says. “They got a new young hot designer … You can go surfing in them if you want to, but they look like a Gucci bag.
“Luli Fama is Cuban. She makes suits for Sports Illustrated. She started the ruched backing and now everyone is following her. They look like Christmas trees; she embellishes them with everything.”
The Hard Rock stocks a suit for every personality or sun-soaked need.
“Vitamin A is a good suit and interesting … Hurley does the best swimsuits for surfer girls.”
Tye says the hottest colors for this summer are orange and yellow, followed by neon pink and green.
“We went to ASR [an outdoor sports fashion show] in San Diego and everything was neon … the louder the better. The essence is ‘80s, absolute ‘80s. Fluorescent orange and yellow are doing phenomenal, and fuchsia.”
One-pieces, all the rage in the ‘70s (see: Bo Derek), are also making a comeback.
“We used to go to shows and see 150 bikinis and two one-pieces, but this year it has been 150 bikinis and 10 one-pieces,” says Tye. “You don’t have to see everything about me, you know what I mean? The one-pieces are just as sexy.”
Another trend that’s heating up the pools are metal embellishments that could be straight from Home Depot: grommets, hoops and chains.
“Our best sellers are orange and yellow [bikinis] with gold chains. Elizabeth Hurley, Vitamin A and L Space, they all have chains on them.”
Tye likens the new cutting-edge suits to Spanx, the subtle body-hugging spandex that has gained a cultish following by making women of all sizes slimmer and smoother.
“There are so many great styles and cuts, so there’s no need to compromise at all and not find a great swimsuit. Pattern makers are getting better and better … fabric engineering is getting so much better and textiles are getting so much better; they can do great things with your body.”
While this is excellent news, there is one distressing caveat that Tye readily admits.
“Swimsuits are expensive. They are $150 for, like, six inches of fabric. [Suits at the Hard Rock sell for $89-$150]… or you can go to Target and you get the cutest ones for $20. I go there and I’m like, ‘Why are these so cute and so adorable? I’m never going to sell another swimsuit at the Hard Rock!’”
As long as Rehab rages and as long as rock ‘n’ roll spells sex—probably forever – the Hard Rock will keep selling overpriced bikinis, hot chicks will continue to buy them and hot chick appreciators will continue to thank their lucky stars for those skimpy six inches of fabric.
And rock star’s wives will continue to design them. Claims Tye: “Every aging rock star’s wife becomes a bikini designer.”