Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ViX Swim Suits Are Creating Vixens All Over LA; Brings Back Suit Memories

A few weekends ago, my friends – Rachel and Tracy – organized a spa day at the Montage Hotel Beverly Hills to celebrate my birthday.  We spent the afternoon indulging in sensual massages and cleansing facials.

Afterward, we lunched – where we had a Nicole Richie and Joel Madden sighting – and then we spent the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sun at the roof-top pool.  

It was a splendid day and the rooftop oasis was crowded.

The Bday Girl!
So once we were settled into our chaise lounge, Rachel took notice that a lot of the chicks were wearing ViX swim suits. We looked around the pool and then at each other, and paused, we were also all wearing ViX– different styles and colors of course.

ViX swimwear – founded and designed by Brazilian-native Paula Hermanny – is known for its eye-catching prints and distinctive use of metal hardware, beading and stone.  Since 1998, Hermanny has been designing collections, for women of all ages and sizes, which are fashion forward and interpret the season’s latest trends.  Her designs are a favorite among celebrities, and anything but average girls like my friends and I.

But ViX isn’t the only sassy swimwear line out there:  Vitamin A, Sunsets, Hurley, Betsey Johnson and Juicy Couture also have some hot styles that are making the guys sweat.

The concept less is more is certainly the motto here; but that wasn’t always the case.

The swim suits today are nothing like our suits from yesteryear; and all this talk of swim fashion brought me back to a short stint that I did as a fit model for Bill Blass’s swimwear line in the early ‘90s.

One of my good friend’s – whom I met while bartending– happened to be one of Bill Blass’s muses at the time.  Janet was truly one cool chick; she was over 6 foot tall, blond, willowy, with a deep booming laugh.  She was gorgeous and everyone – guys and girls – fell in love with her at first sight.  She was a down-to-earth Tom Boy packaged in this super model persona. 

When I first met Janet, Page 6 had reported on her “brief” relationship with rocker Sebastian Bach.  I remember she laughed when she gave me the dirt about that guy and his antics.

One day, she called and asked if I wanted some extra work.  I said yes thinking it was another bartending gig, but it was for fit modeling.  I was super nervous.  Not being one of the most coordinated people out there (I’m sure some people will say, “Tracy, stop being so self-deprecating,” but Jason will attest that it is a true statement.), I wasn’t really sure how I would pull it off.  I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to do. I didn’t even have a signature walk.

But Janet whisked me off to New York anyway and we arrived at Bill Blass’s showroom in the fashion district. 

I was expecting something mah-jorly glamorous, but it wasn’t so much.  We were herded into the “Models Room” with a bunch of other women and assigned swimsuits – aka samples – to put on.  (If you are in the habit of buying swim wear at sample sales, you may want to think again as there was nary an undergarment or tissue in that sample I wore.)  Then we pretty much just sat around, in the swimsuits, and ate from a table laden with breakfast and then lunch items as clients flitted in and out of the showroom all day to see the collection. 

Now, I am no model, but I have always been fit only because I am an exercise fanatic; but, if I sat around eating and waiting all day every day, I’m not sure how long I would have continued to “fit” into those swim suits.

But this was just a temporary job, so I enjoyed my NY-style bagel with cream cheese (yum) and cup after cup of coffee.  Of course, worrying the whole time about bloating and if I would look “fat” in front of the clients.

Well that didn’t happen, but a few vendors did come in that day.  I was so paranoid about my “walk.”  Janet assured me this was about showing off the suits on a live person, so just stride normally out in front of the clients. It wasn’t a runway show and there was no catwalk.

Vintage Bill Blass
But I do recollect strutting my stuff in a black bathing suit – which they did let me keep along with some other samples – with leg holes that were cut so high they rested above my hip bones.  On my feet were sensible yet comfortable pumps. Of course, these were the days before self-tanner so, due to the last minute nature of the job, I was as pale as ghost and not looking very Sun Goddess-like.

Luckily, all the bathing suits that I showcased were one piece although some had mesh and the belly was cut out one – subtly sexy and very early 90s – didn’t show too much skin.

I worked with Janet for a good part of the week.  We stayed at her friend’s apartment in the city and had a blast for the duration. Sadly, it ended up being a short-lived opportunity and, it certainly wasn’t as fashionable or as intimidating as I thought it would be, but I did make some decent cash.  Mostly, I was glad to have had the experience at all.

Throughout my life, it has been exciting to experience a few different facets of fashion: fit modeling; retail for Betsey Johnson -- and other less notable lines; and most importantly, my role as a fashion consumer -- a life long passion of mine.

 
My suit memories remind me that, at 42 years old, I am still coveting the latest in resort wear fashion and happy to be a swimsuit vixen living in L.A.

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