Friday Night Highlights at Mercedes-Benz Swim Week

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim made a splash Friday night with shows from Poko Pano, Beach Bunny, L-Space By Monica Wise and Wildfox at the Raleigh Hotel. While each show brought its own flavor to swim week, all had one thing in common: sexy suits in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles.

Poko Pano [Gallery]

Designer Paola Robba looked to the Amazon for her inspiration for Poko Pano’s latest collection, which explained why the first suit to take a spin down the runway boasted large pineapples. And more fruit followed. From bikinis and once-pieces to cover-ups, the first round of looks from Poko Pano were adorned with the citrus fruit. Immediately following the pineapples came palm fronds. Big, green and adorning everything from bikini tops and bottoms to palazzo pants and cover-ups, Robba definitely captured the jungles of the Amazon. Up next, monkeys. Mixed and matched with bandeau tops and monkey-printed bottoms, this pattern brought a hint of quirk to the catwalk’s Amazonian safari. Keeping with her tropical theme, Robba created striking suits in a rainbow of bright colors that conjured up images of wild parrots. Standouts included the grass hula skirt cover-up and long, flowing cover-ups in neutral hues.

Beach Bunny [Gallery]

Blurring the lines between lingerie and swimwear, Beach Bunny’s catwalk with filled with bikini tops shaped like push-up bras and bottoms boasting a lacy waistband like the much beloved one from Hanky Panky. Known for its buxom models, Beach Bunny kicked off the show with model Kate Upton, who resembled Anna Nicole Smith in the most uncanny way. Both full-figured and full of personality, Upton lit up the runway in a sparkling, blue-sequined two-piece. At Beach Bunny it’s all about glitz and ruched-back bottoms, which, we think, were the standout of the show. More sequins were followed by bright pinks with leopard prints, a la Victoria’s Secret’s Pink line. And while we haven’t seen a wedding swimsuit tribute in the past, we immediately knew that was a theme when the parade of white bikinis with lacy detail, sashes and trains did a wedding march down the catwalk to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” In keeping with the lingerie look, this round of swimsuits could easily double as a bride’s under-things for her big day. Bringing it all home, Upton also ended the show in full wedding regalia, comprised of a retro, yet modern high-waisted bikini and an uber long veil, leaving many saying “I do” to Beach Bunny.

L Space By Monica Wise

Over in the Grande Cabana, L-Space asked its audience to prepare for takeoff. The destination: A great bohemian escape of bold colors mixed with tribal prints. Fringed one- and two-piece suits in bright purples, steal greys and neon yellows stole the show. And what a show it was. Halfway through the parade of nomadic boho bikinis, L-Space re-charted it course to Carnival, complete with two headdressed dancers shaking it to yet another Beyonce tune. Following the dancers, more mix and match suits, flowing cover-ups and daring cutouts in both bikini and one-piece form made their march down the runway. And this time, the models wore them with sand-covered cheeks, making all eyes on Wise’s bikini bottoms. Where most designers sent their biggest and best look down the runway last, Wise opted to send her most bare model to close out the show. A topless girl flirted her way down the catwalk in nothing more than coral-colored Brazilian-cut bottom and a big, floppy beach hat hiding where her top should have been. It was definitely a trip to remember.

Wildfox [Gallery]

If the line to the penthouse was any indication of what Wildfox had in store for the night, then it was going to be a show of massive proportions. In lieu of a catwalk, models made rounds to platforms throughout the Raleigh’s top floor, wearing prints and fabrics that gave off a distinct prairie feel: cowboys riding horses, tiny flower prints and faded denim. The look was as cute as it was kitschy. Standouts included high-waisted bikinis in both denim and pony prints and a white one-piece with a kitty cat face front and center on the suit. Downstairs it was bikinis that stole the show, but in the sky, Wildfox opted for more coverage with an abundance of one-piece suits. A full moon and a party raging well past midnight made for a memorable and well-suited end to swim week’s second night.

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