This Swimsuit Is Expensive, but I Can Tell You It's Worth It
As a fashion editor, I get asked time and again what items are actually worth spending money on. Über-stylist and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's main lady, Cher Coulter, once told me that high up on her list of recommendations is a small Saint Laurent day-to-night bag, a decent pair of loafers, a forever trench and a Victoriana blouse. Some women always invest in winter coats, others in occasion dresses or designer denim, but me? I'm a (relatively new) advocate of expensive swimwear.
It all started when my stylist friend and swimwear addict Lily Russo set up an online beachwear website with her sister and mother in 2012, called BeachFlamingo.com. Since then, the resortwear market has been expanding—one recent report predicts that the global market for swim- and holidaywear is set to exceed $20 billion by 2019. Added to that, any high-fashion buyer will tell you that they're ploughing more spend into the luxury side of this booming department. There are a high demand and an increasingly varied supply, but one designer swimwear name will always be referenced, no matter how many new labels come to the fore: Karla Colletto.
From synchronised swimmers who need their cossies to stay in place to the most respected travel bloggers, this brand's impeccably tailored, high-spec swimsuits continue to be frontrunners. Lily had always recommended them to me, but it was only when I "borrowed" a red one-piece from my mum's holiday suitcase that I realised just what I had been missing all this time.
"Once trying designers like Karla Colletto, our customers always thank us for introducing them to her designs," Lily tells me. "As we get older, a flimsy bikini with no support won't cut it anymore. You are more likely to get away with wearing a high-street dress, but in swimwear, you really can't disguise an ill-fitting swimsuit." And isn't that the truth? The number of times I've bought a cheap and cheerful bikini two seconds before a holiday (with the idea that it'll just be disposed of afterwards) is probably a feeling you've all shared. But a couple of summers later, I'm still wearing (and loving) my Colletto swimsuit—it still looks brand-new, and it's still doing pretty miraculous things to my body.
Now for the science part: Karla's creations use Sensitive fabrics, which are made with Xtra Life Lycra—these suck-it-all-in stretch fabrics also offer chlorine resistance of up to 10 times more than traditional swimwear. But it's not just about the high-tech fabrics employed; just getting to the point where a silhouette is ultra-flattering can be a life's work, and this brand has been honing its cuts for 25 years. You'll find some clever inner layering and subtle-but-effective under-wiring does a pretty phenomenal job of lifting and scultping. As Lily explains: "Swimwear is surprisingly expensive to make. Compared to a dress or coat there is a lot less fabric, however it takes great expertise to construct a bikini or swimsuit, before you even get to the fabric specifications which need to be constantly developed."
So what you're paying for is, in essence, a great fit that supports without feeling restrictive alongside fast-drying, durable, non-sagging, fabrics that hold their colour over time. And when you're more naked and exposed than at any other point during the year, why wouldn't it be a good idea to invest? Look at it this way: A one-off purchase of £250 can provide a killer item that gets used for two holidays a year, for at least five years would be the equivalent of buying 10 £25 bikinis that make me feel more like a sack of potatoes instead of a total knockout.
And guess what? My favourite style is in the sale! Shop Karla Colletto's best swimsuits below.