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Monday, June 10, 2013

Trendspotting: Scuba Evolution

cynthia rowley 2013

I have spent my first days at the beach. I watched surfers and plan on doing some scuba diving later  this summer. Clearly, the wetsuit inspiration has attracted many fashion designers in recent seasons as I keep seeing the aquatic staple hit the runways.  Here is how scuba chic has evolved...

The first time I saw neoprene interpreted for street fashion was at Parsons. One of my teachers invited a former student to describe her first job out of school, designing for  Donna Karan.  She showed us her sketchbook which included early versions of a 1994 dress which became an iconic look for the label. The scuba dress was immortalized in the book, Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now:

donna karan 1994

Wetsuit-inspired fashion popped up in the resort collections of many designers in 2012. Herve Leger updated their signature bandage dress look to emulate the seams of a wetsuit. Derek Lam took the color blocking look of wetsuits and designed a graphic collection around it.  Michael Kors took the traditional neoprene and made it a dress.

resort 2012

For 2013, designers have quickly brought this look further into the mainstream by treating the neoprene fabric itself, (see first photo). Cynthia Rowley, a surfer herself, created some terrific dresses and top using digital printing on neoprene.  At her Montauk store, there are lace prints, jewel and botanical prints that I loved. In turn, she brought high fashion into surfing gear. She offered a special collection of functional wetsuits with her trendy clothing prints. Designer Byron Lars created an elegant Fall 2013 collection bonding brocade and glen plaids to neoprene to use the bright color as a pop lining or unexpected texture inside traditional fabric.  He also used laser cutting to create flattering shapes of applique on the dresses.  He also relied on supportive nature of the fabric to create a sexy silhouette.

For the multi-tasking gal, it's great to know you hit the runway or the ocean and never have to change!

Photos from Nick Verreros, Irving Solero, Mariana Leung


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