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When packing your suitcase this summer, take inspiration from Andre de Dienes’ 1949 shoot of the then relatively unknown Marilyn Monroe parading on Santa Monica beach in a ruched, halterneck white swimsuit.
Flirty, 1950s shapes are in, and this season’s swimwear is both flattering and feminine. From LA-based brand Marysia come one-shoulder swimsuits and bikini crop tops with sweet scalloped edges and high-waisted briefs. Lisa Marie Fernandez’s on-theme one-pieces have a nautical rope-belt fastening, while Norma Kamali’s bandage-wrap costumes come with cutesy cut-out waists, and Heidi Klein’s are strapless with a sweetheart neckline, recalling Monroe’s in an array of vivid shades. This summer’s key styles are brightly coloured and mono-shaded — great for offsetting a tan.
A wide-brim hat with a floppy peak will ward off the sun’s rays: brands such as Filù (which crafts its styles in the Italian Alps using centuries-old methods) and Sensi Studio (whose ribbon-tied Panama hats are inspired by traditional Ecuadorian techniques) have a great selection. Handmade beach bags from British brand Rae Feather are big enough to fill with all the essentials.
The dolce-vita trend follows through to cover-ups: crisp, cotton dresses and separates in feminine, 1950s shapes are this season’s must-pack staple, as they work for both beach and bar. Look for off-the-shoulder tops or pretty, tiered slips with ribbons and bows. Lisa Marie Fernandez’s flouncy dresses are cute yet classic — seersucker stripes with a flamenco frill, or the button-up gingham outfit that’s her interpretation of the traditional school dress.
Men have an easier task. Simple, tailored swim shorts from brands such as Orlebar Brown, Onia and Saturdays NYC are fail-safe. The ideal length is around the mid-thigh, and in shades of navy, chambray or olive they are smart enough for the bar. For something more casual, French brand Officine Générale offers a grey swim short that looks great with a white T-shirt. And if you insist on a beach accessory, try Frescobol Carioca’s beach bats in polished Brazilian wood.