With the assistance of Laura Ugalde, director of the CYL Moda Íntima International fashion magazine, The LYCRA Company sponsored the prestigious show’s Best Collection award, providing two Spanish design studios – Aurelia Gil and Pedro Palmas – with 300 kilograms of LYCRA® fiber to use in the production of their winning swimwear collections, as well as offering guidance on fabric development and sourcing.
Aurelia Gil’s daywear, eveningwear and swimwear collections aim to dress women for any occasion with a focus on sustainability. For more than 15 years, Gil has created unique, timeless, femininity-enhancing garments. Pedro Palmas, meanwhile, was founded in 1989 as a design studio focused on women's ready-to-wear, bridal and haute couture fashion, later adding business uniforms to its portfolio. The firm closed in 2004 and reopened in 2015, incorporating women's and men’s swimwear and beach accessories into production.
We spoke with Gil and Palmas to learn more about their respective styles, winning collections and more.
How would you describe your approach to swimwear design, and your signature aesthetic?
Gil: First, I choose a theme or an inspiration, which determines a specific color range, patterns and silhouettes. Then the drawing process begins, and my aim is to make something very different from what I see in the shops or on the beach. I like to play with color, with prints, with the female body and textures, with transparencies, with transformable pieces to which you can add or remove straps or ruffles. I like to develop swimwear that can be used for everyday wear. Another aspect I never forget when designing is the comfort and security a woman should feel when she puts on a swimsuit.
Palmas: My aim is to investigate new patterns that define my creations and endure over time. I incorporate innovative designs, new ways of feminine and masculine dressing, full of sophisticated glamour, asymmetrical cuts and unusual shapes that bring modernity to my pieces.
Tell us about your winning swimwear collection. What inspired its design?
Palmas: Our collection, GLAM, is inspired by the disco era of the late-70's and early-80's, in the transition of the decades. There are mixtures of trends that, throughout the coming decade, define the style itself. These transition periods are where much creativity arises, always with avant-garde touches. I wanted to bring a fresh and updated vision of this fantastic era.
Gil: The collection presented was NOCTURNA ss2021. The main idea was to generate a swimwear collection suitable for a red carpet. I left out the prints this time and decided to play around and do a clean exercise in color blocks – a risky bet that had to be very well balanced so that it wouldn't be boring. I added dresses, tops, tulle jackets with full volume and multiple ruffles to complete the sophistication of the swimwear and give it a very Spanish character.
What do you love most about being a swimwear designer? What about the category most excites you?
Gil: Having the possibility to tell stories through clothes…to create my universes and live in them season after season is very rewarding and complex at the same time. The creative process and development of a collection is a very exciting emotional slide in which you undress and show yourself, and this has always fascinated me in my work. With swimwear, the innovation in fabrics and textures, the possibilities of doing different things are seen every season. I pursue the idea of developing collections with increasingly technical and adaptable fabrics, as well as with fabrics made from recycled fibers.
Palmas: I am a designer of “Prêt-à-Couture.” My swimwear line is complementary to my clothing line. Swimwear design is an extension of my creativity.
What swimwear trends will have the greatest impact on the category in 2021 and beyond?
Palmas: We are going towards many unusual trends. Creatives always bet on new approaches, and more and more comfort and sustainability are seen in garments. On the other hand, I am more in favor of seeing novel trends in fashion shows, like garments printed with personalized images, embroidery and modern prints inspired by art and history. In terms of cuts, we will go to updated retro lines, puzzle pieces (combinations of fabrics and shapes), and include embroideries and paillettes in swimwear.
Gil: I am a designer, not a fashion guru. But I think sportswear will enter the swimwear world in a wonderful way, and that the more sophisticated pieces of large volumes will also come to stay.
What value does the LYCRA® brand bring to swimwear?
Palmas: It is an honor to collaborate with the “magic fiber" of swimwear. We are talking about the queen of elastic fibers with more than half a century in the market and leadership in the swimwear textile and garment market. We are talking about quality, prestige, trust and tradition.
Gil: It is a seal of quality and a guarantee. That’s what gives me the most security and peace of mind when designing.
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