If anyone knows what women want from a swimsuit, it’s Norwegian model-turned-designer Monica Hansen. Since she began modeling in 1997, Hansen has graced the covers of Elle, Esquire and Maxim, to name a few. Now, she’s the owner and designer behind her eponymous line, Monica Hansen Swimwear.
Standing at 5’11, the industry was an obvious calling, but the desire to be her own boss was always in the back of her mind. “I’m actually very camera shy, believe it or not,” Hansen admits over the phone, a slight Norwegian accent brightening every occasional phrase. “It was a natural transition for me because that’s something I always wanted to do.”
In 2013, after years of picturing herself behind the drawing board, Monica Hansen Swimwear was born. And only a month ago, Hansen packed her bags, moving both her life and her eponymous swim line from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Bold, sexy and heavily influenced by the leggy, high-waisted cuts of the ’80s and ’90s, her designs couldn’t have a better runway than under the glowing desert sun.
On April 3, Hansen will pair up with friend and supermodel Joanna Krupa for a Vegas swimwear party at Hyde Bellagio, just months before Hansen debuts her 2018 collection at Miami Fashion Week. Joining her longtime pal Hansen for a blowout bash in Vegas was a no-brainer, Krupa says.
A former cast member on Real Housewives of Miami and Dancing With the Stars, Krupa says Hansen “was a cheerleader for me in the business” when Krupa began her modeling career. Though the two have known each other for years, the party at Hyde will be the two models’ first time hosting anything together in Sin City. “The most fun part is you can let loose and have fun,” Krupa says of Vegas. “You don’t worry [about having] to wake up the next morning and go to work. You’re there to have a good time.”
For swimsuit connoisseurs—Krupa admits to owning more than 1,000—the gifting suite event is a must-attend, complete with goodie bags for the first 50 attendees, featuring Bellini Tan products and discounts from Monica Hansen Swimwear. The 2017 collection will also be on display so guests can get a feel for the cuts, construction and fabrics, and include the black and gold French-inspired St. Tropez stunner, which comes in a string bikini, a sporty two-piece or a sexy, plunging one piece.
Everything is handmade in Italy and requires extra attention to detail—custom-making each color, testing them in dip-dyes, sourcing fabrics and testing patterns and cuts. “It’s a lot of back and forth to get the right fit,” Hansen says, who spends most of her nights on the phone and answering emails, communicating with manufacturers in Europe (who are nine hours ahead of us here in Vegas). But the long days are worth the payoff.
“It’s something that you either get or you don’t,” Hansen says, who’s literally spent her entire career preparing for this very moment, where her insider-knowledge of the industry only emboldens her swimsuit savvy. “Ever since I started modeling, I always wanted to design,” Hansen says. “That’s my main focus right now.”
Industry Tuesdays April 3, 10:30 p.m., $20-$30, Hyde Bellagio.