It had been almost a year since I had been out to Miami. The last time I was out in Miami it was to cover a show and an excuse to go there. I had never been to Miami and after years of watching Miami Vice, Scarface and countless music videos I was wondering if the city would live up to the hype. I mean, everything about Miami seemed just so over the top. I honestly didn’t know what to think, but as always I was going in with an open mind. I was going to cover the Exxxotica show so even if I didn’t care for the city I am sure I would have a great time. Well, as luck would have it, I would indeed have a great time and Miami proved to me that it was a city that was chock full of amazingess (is that even a word? Screw it, it is for the purpose of this article) and surprises. But you know what, for all of the craziness that I got to see while I was there (and for all of the sunburns that I would get) I did notice that Miami had something about it. It was really very unique in it’s visual flair. It’s style. The way it looked was more vibrant and full of life compared to other cities I had been to on the east coast. More importantly though, it was it’s fashion that caught my eye.
My dad is from El Salvador so growing up I was used to being around that Central American flair. If you don’t know what that is then you’d definitely have to be around it to understand it. I remember my dad’s cousins telling me that when my dad had first come to the U. S. that he was very…em…Central American.. The funny thing is that when I first heard this I couldn’t help but laugh. I totally knew what they were talking about. If it wasn’t the pupusas that were practically falling out of his suitcase then it was definitely the wardrobe that gave it away. You know what it is? It’s that Latin flavor.
Latinos are boisterous, loud and more often than not, bolder than folks from other places. You see it in the food, you see it in the music and you definitely, definitely see it in the style. The clothes they wear isn’t always the muted color palettes you see here in the States or even in Europe. Heck, I remember seeing video of Qatari locals dancing and having a great time with all of the fans from the different Latino countries during this last World Cup. We know how to party and look good doing it.
I remember when I was younger my dad used to bring his friends around our house. It was always the women (but sometimes the guys too) that would wear clothing that was bright colored and a lot of times very sexy. That look is something I’ve always liked and it was a look that I found all over the place when I arrived in Miami. With Miami being a hub of sorts for Latinos from all around the hemisphere it’s easy to see why there is so much buzz in that city. You have so much flair at every turn that it’s infectious. So, when I planned my return trip to Miami I was more than excited. Especially when I caught wind of Miami Swim Week.
You know, I had always heard of New York Fashion Week and many, many years ago I had gone to LA Fashion Week (to cover for the an old magazine that I worked with), but I had never thought of fashion week in other cities. But you know, after thinking about Miami and the vibe that I had always gotten from it (especially having had a blast visiting there the year before) I was more than elated when I received an email about Miami Fashion Week (hosted by The Society). So, without thinking much about it I just knew that I had to head out to Miami and check this show out and later that night I had already booked my ticket and seat.
Now, it just so happened that I was planning to go to Miami anyways, so for Fashion Week lining up perfectly with my trip was more than perfect. And wouldn’t you know, this would be in the summer as well. It had been forever since I had been to a place with tropical weather and boy, oh boy would I get a healthy reminder of just how hot Florida was in the summer time. But, c’est la vie and while I may have been dying from heat exhaustion on the outside, on the inside I was fired up to check out the latest and greatest swim collections.
This show took place at the iconic Alfred I duPont building in Downtown Miami. I’ll admit, I didn’t know the history of this building at the time, but as soon as I walked inside it was obvious that this venue was very special. Walking into the building it felt like I had walked onto the set of The Great Gatsby. With beautiful art deco architecture it was very impressive building to see. One of my favorite parts of the show was where the actual runway was. Many years ago I attended LA Fashion Week and got to see the show up close. It was quite an experience and I really enjoyed just how frantic and fast paced the show was. But, it was the visual spectacle that really helped to sell the outfits. I remember the scene was very dark and so everyone’s eyes were fixated on every model walking down the runway. But this show was completely different. The backdrop was something of an open ballroom and it really added to the experience. You could tell by the models walking down the runway that everyone was chewing up the scenery and I loved it.
The designers that were showing off their swimwear that day were Charjean Couture and House of Barretti. Their styles were very different to each other but beautifully rendered. The outfits by Charjean had a very classic and beautiful look to them. These were outfits that you could see at any poolside cabana or beach. House of Barretti swimwear is a different beast all together. The detail and boldness of the outfits was very impressive. I also like that they (at times) chose to show off pieces of their collection that weren’t just swimwear. Awesome!
Miami Swim Week was a fantastic time and I enjoyed seeing the collections that reflect their respective regions. LA has its own style as does New York and now Miami. I hope that I can go see more designers this next go around. One thing I have to mention is singer Alex Freeman. I never knew who this was, but this beautiful young lady came out during the House of Barretti and belted out several of her tunes. The conviction by which she sang and danced around was so much fun. We spoke briefly after the show and I was over the moon for her talent. I recommend everyone check out her youtube channel and music. Much like a lot of swim week in Miami there were a lot of surprises and I hope that next time around we will see many more.
Words and photos by Daniel Navarrete
This article was prepared or accomplished by Daniel Navarrete in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spektrum Magazine, or its affiliates.