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Miami Swim Week: Inside the Runway Shows, Sponsor Activations, and V.I.P. lounges

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim marked its 10th year of swimsuit design and industry parties.

By Tracy Block July 24, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

Photo: Angeles Alumuna Photography

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, held July 17 to 21 at the Raleigh hotel, marked its 10th anniversary this year with fresh takes on its signature swimwear shows as well as sponsor activations and lounges.

At the July 17 opening bash, the theme was all things 10. A centerpiece was 10 custom C-Class Mercedes-Benz vehicles, each painted by swimsuit designers including Mara Hoffman, Carmen Marc Valvo, Nanette Lapore, and Jeremyville, who also created the signature 10th anniversary pattern for the overall event signage. All 10 designers also created matching kaftans for the occasion, which were modeled on platforms over a pool illuminated with LED balls.

On the seventh floor of the Raleigh, the Esther Williams Suite again held the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge, a V.I.P. retreat open throughout Swim Week. Event designer Bronson van Wyck transformed the space with a palette of jewel tones including magenta, emerald, citrine, and sapphire. Rich textures including silk, the Carerra marble bar, brass, bone inlay, woven cowhide rugs, potted palms, coral peonies, brass pelican accessories, mirror consoles, and a mid-century brass chandelier merged different genres and eras into one cohesive vision. “It’s important to mix styles and periods with confidence, so that it doesn’t come off as one-note,” said van Wyck. Restaurant Michael Schwartz catered the lounge, providing a range of snacks, bite-size hors d’oeuvres, and desserts, including crispy hominy, falafel, grilled polenta, fig flatbread, mini doughnuts, and pot de crème.

As part of the larger Miami Swim Week, media, beauty, and fashion brands sponsored their own activations and events. At the Allure Lounge Miami at Hyde Beach in the SLS South Beach, Shiseido’s sunblock station was popular in peak afternoon hours. Attendees rested in the shade propped up on accent pillows from Ronen Rental in seaside shades of ocean blue, nautical stripes, and ocean-inspired Ikat.

Metallic Flash Tattoo applications were a popular activity at several events. Pretty Beachy’s swimsuit pop-up at the Escape Lounge Miami at the National Hotel offered them, as did the Impanema cabana at the Raleigh, where a team of temporary tattoo artists saw the heaviest foot traffic of any leading sponsor, offering a dozen different designs. On Monday night, designer Liliana Montoya had her models sport gold-and-silver heart-shaped metallic tattoos—her logo is a heart—to round out her show’s feminine “Mermaids” theme.

One thing that remains true of the Swim Week event roster is its exclusivity. Web retailer Asos employed a word-of-mouth technique to invite guests to its event, ditching social media and electronic invitations.

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