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One to Watch: Fashion-Forward Swimwear by Lisa Marie Fernandez

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Stylist Lisa Marie Fernandez had worked for the likes of Elle, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar before making her first foray into design with a collection of swimwear. "I'm a big beach girl," explains Lisa. "I travel all over the world and I always really loved swim. It' s so versatile. It celebrates a woman's body. Swim, for me, was always a definite thing."

    Unveiled in the summer of 2009, Fernandez offered sneak peeks to editors and friends as she bumped into them during the Paris shows. "Everyone really loved it," she says reflectively, "and this was post-recession, of course, so that was a reality we faced. But I think [the recession] worked in my favor in a sense because I was offering something that was not in the market at all. In retrospect, I don't know if I would have been able to keep up with demand during the boom, really."

    Now in the third year of its life, the collection, which combines sporty '80s style and alluring lingerie shapes rendered in luxe neoprene treatments, are likely completely different from anything you've seen on the rack at a local swim boutique. Neither frilly nor skimpy, Fernandez was trying to fill a void in the swimwear market for fashion-conscious folks who weren't particularly interested in madras string bikinis.

    "I think of it as a very womanly brand," explains Fernandez. "It's very simple, and quite modern and very practical. There's this modern simplicity but there's strength in it." As a result, she finds the collection appeals to an unusually wide consumer base. "It's the kind of thing where our customers can be from 12 to well in their 50's. The collection has this really broad appeal, and we had no idea that was going to happen."

    To view the current collection, visit www.lisamariefernandez.com.