Devin and I were lucky enough to preview US brand, Wildfox’s, 2015 swim collection at their smoking hot runway show in Miami. We were dancing in our seats to the Mariah Carey soundtrack blasting through the speakers, which perfectly captured the fun, retro vibe of the 90s-themed collection. The two dynamic duos responsible for this playful brand are brainchild of Wildfox, Kimberley Gordon and designer Leilani Shimoda. During the past few months A Bikini A Day has been giving you sneak peeks of what Wildfox has in store for you, but now with the collection being released Jan 12th, thanks to Wildfox, we are giving you an exclusive look at our #SWIMEDIT from Wildox’s Cruise 2015 collection titled, “Party like it’s 99′”. But that’s not all, we had a chance to sit down with Leilani Shimoda, the sweet spirited designer behind what we would say is one of our favorite brands. Here’s what she had to say:
(Scroll for Look book, Swim Edit, and to shop the collection)
How long have you been working with Wildfox?
What made you decide to become a designer?
My parents are both artists and I inherited their creativity- I learned how to sew by making clothes for my Barbies, I designed my own Halloween costumes so I’d have something original to wear. It was a way to use my imagination, apply my artistic ability and have something useful in the end. It combines form and function. I really love that my designs can make a girl feel better- she might have been down or might be dreaming of being on vacation and one of our suits can uplift or transport her.
Your collection is based on the 90s, what inspired you about that era?
The 90’s was influential for a number of reasons. First, I was the age where I started to make conscious choices about what I wanted to wear and how it represented me. To start the decade I was a tom boy and dressed in the popular casual chic/grunge styles of the era. As the years progressed, notably with the huge impact supermodels had on the world at the time, I aspired to higher fashion. Clothes that looked good and fit well made me feel more confident. The 90’s was a very empowering time for women.
Is there any particular model from the 90s that you would have loved to see in one of your designs?
Models like Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Niki Taylor and Naomi Campbell all shot beautiful swimwear in their 90s prime. That’s where I was first inspired, and they would be so perfect for the season’s suits.
Which swimsuit design has been your personal favorite from the Wildfox collection?
The underwire mermaid shell bikini is definitely my favorite.
Describe your creative process from start to finish, where do you go, what do you do in order to get inspired?
I’m a collector. I collect vintage swimwear, lingerie, old Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, classic Playboys. I thrift and shop flea markets. It starts there and inspires the ideas for how I can design a look that fits today but pays homage to the past. I sketch, translate that to the computer, then fit, refit and ultimately finalize the pieces that will be beautiful, flattering and comfortable.
Who is the target audience for your designs?
The Wildfox girl is young and adventurous. She travels on road trips with her best friends or swims alone in the pool on a hot summer night. She loves the ocean and sun.
Who’s in charge of coining all of your cheeky quotes?
Kim comes up with a lot of the quotes. She’s the heart of Wildfox and she’s so quick and sharp.
Do you have any special surprises in store for us in 2015?
I have a few but they wouldn’t be surprises if I told you them in January… check back in the spring.
We’ve noticed that your models like to smile a lot, is that part of your campaign? We love it!
The Wildfox girl is carefree, energetic and spirited. She’s vibrant and likes clothes that match her energy. Your clothes should make you happy, they should be fun and make you smile!
What is your favorite thing about working for Wildfox? It sounds like a dream job to us!
I love the freedom to take risks. We can have fun- like putting “Rad!” and “totally awesome” on a 90s inspired suit. And also release a double-wide towel to accompany it, because who doesn’t want a towel you can share with a friend on the beach.
Is MBFW SWIM in Miami the biggest show of the year for Wildfox swim? When do your preparations begin?
Yes, Miami is the showcase and the culmination of most of the year’s work. Development is ongoing so MBFW is always on my mind. It’s fantastic not only to show the line, but to choose the music for the show, to meet the other designers and watch their shows, to see what everyone spent all those long days and nights working on.
Which swimsuit do you wear when you’re at the beach?
I love our new tie front triangle that fits like a bra, with straight straps.
After visiting so many different locations is there one particular location you would go for to for vacation?
Tulum is one of my favorites. Thailand, Bali and Tahiti are also at the top of my list right now.
What is something about you that no one knows? (Maybe your lingerie collection you told us about)
I consider myself to be a lingerie connoisseur. My collection is probably bordering on an obsession, some which I never even wear because it’s just too beautiful.
What is the most important thing you have learned while being a designer that you would give as advice to up and coming designers?
You have to be passionate and feel excited about what you’re designing. I’m constantly shopping, pinning to my mood boards, buying vintage magazines for research, asking friends what they wear, why and how it makes them feel- it’s constantly on my mind because I love it, not because I have to do it or it’s work. My goal is for our consumer to feel great wearing what I designed. That’s what keeps the passion going.
You’re gorgeous and have amazing skin, could you share with us some of your personal beauty secrets?
Thank you! I make sure to drink a lot of water. I mostly wear Shiseido products, including a daily moisturizer with SPF.
SHOP THE CRUISE 15′ COLLECTION