By Avigayil Kadesh
What will trendy women be wearing at the beach and poolside this spring and summer? Nobody can answer this question better than Israeli industry leaders Gottex
. These two brands are responsible for pushing Israel’s annual women’s swimwear exports to about $50 million, selling in fine stores in more than 40 countries.
Both fashion houses combine Israeli design ingenuity with fine Italian fabrics made to order. The products are decidedly upscale, created with stylish durability in mind for a range of ages and body types.
Gottex, America's top imported swimsuit brand, helped establish beachwear as a fashion category and takes credit for pioneering the use of Spandex and hard-cup swimsuit bras.
This Profile suit by Gottex is slimming in all the right places
“We have a lot of new fabrics, including hand-painted Italian fabrics, and specially developed Lycra [spandex] to control and conceal body contours so that a woman will feel confident her silhouette is slimmed where she needs it,” says Gottex creative director Molly Grad.
Grad says the 2012 collection “is all about color -- very bright and flattering colors, beautiful prints, a lot drawn by hand with a beautiful artisan feel to them, and intricate details such as jewelry-like trims.”
2012 is all about color, says Gottex creative director Molly Grad
The judicious use of color can bring out the best features of the female body, she says. “Color placed in significant areas is super bright and flattering, slimming in the right areas. We have lot of florals and decoratives, and some swimsuits with more than 30 eye-popping colors, including flame red, jewel green, cobalt blue and touches of gold that reflect the sun.”
Retro styles, updated
Family-owned Diva is celebrating its 70th anniversary with seven special-edition swimsuits in black and white. Each is designed and engineered in the style of a specific decade in Diva’s history, but the company used a cutting-edge fabric -- Eurojersey’s trademarked Sensitive microfiber, which is lightweight, chlorine resistant and manufactured to environmentally friendly standards.
This Diva Special Edition suit harks back to the 1990s
The regular Diva 2012 catalogue, shot on location at the Dead Sea, features lots of bold animal and floral prints.
“The signature of Diva is rare prints,” says Weiss. Diva award-winning designer Rachel Pappo innovated the leopard-print swimsuit decades ago.
Matchy-matchy is not the idea here. You’ll see a yellow bikini top paired with a turquoise bottom, for example, and a leopard print combined with polka dots. “Dots are always in fashion,” says Weiss, “but we always try to give the lady something new.”
Another brand-new fabric in Diva’s 2012 collection, elasticized plissé, stretches in two directions. The beauty of this material is that it’s an eye-catching element that also is kind to less-than-perfect physiques.
“God is in the details,” remarks Diva Marketing Director Adi Weiss. “Bodies are changing, and we are attentive to that.”
Meaning you don’t have to look like Israeli supermodel Esti Ginzburg (who appeared several years running in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues) to wear a high-fashion Israeli swimsuit with confidence.
Gottex Silver’s “Modern Day”
Swimsuits can bridge cultures
Grad says she approaches each Gottex piece as part of a greater whole, or what she terms “a lifestyle type of approach” to swimwear for women who want the same ensemble to take them from shore to restaurant and beyond.
It’s hard to imagine how designers keep coming up with myriad ways to dress the body for the beach.
“A lot of people don’t understand how we do so many different styles,” Grad acknowledges. “It’s because the more limited you are, the more variations you can make. You can break conformities, and that’s the most exciting for me -- to create new things all the time.”
The fashion-forward, pricey Gottex label is just one branch of the bathing-suit empire that also includes the strong, sexy and stylish Gideon Oberson
brand; the design- and fit-focused Profile
, a leading player in the growing niche of swimwear purchased by cup size; and Pilpel and Free, two lines meant for 16- to 20-year-olds.
“The Gottex woman isn’t just one type,” says Grad, 33, who joined the company in June 2009. “What unites them all is that they want to look stunning on the beach. It’s the ‘wow’ factor. The most spectacular swimsuit bridges different countries and cultures.”
Given the expertise of Gottex and Diva, as well as small Israeli brands including Cobra Fashion
of Herzliya and modest-style swimwear makers such as MarSea
, Sea Secret
, it’s no wonder Israeli mavens have their finger on the pulse of poolside fashion and beachwear.
“The key excitement for me is seeing real women wearing a Gottex and telling me it makes them feel fabulous,” says Grad.