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Mannequin is wearing a highlegged, cross-over swimsuit by Norma Kamali. Patent leather mules by Jimmy Choo

Five Ways to Wear Subversively Sexy Swimwear this Summer

Summer 2018 is centred around the one-piece swimsuit – and not only on Love Island. Katie Shillingford styles the trend with a twist, photographed by Ben Toms

Lead Image Mannequin is wearing a highlegged, cross-over swimsuit by Norma Kamali. Patent leather mules by Jimmy Choo

The word swimsuit was coined in 1915 by the Jantzen Knitting Mills company. Its logo – a figure clad in a scarlet one-piece, named ‘Jantzen’s Diving Girl’ – evolved over the years to keep abreast of fluctuating trends. At first, her stockings and swimming cap were removed. Then in the 1940s, the red, cartoon swimsuit became strapless and backless, emblematic of a shift in the sartorial doctrine that once dictated the way women should dress for water-based leisure activities.  

The contemporary iteration of Jantzen’s Diving Girl can be seen on our television screens on a nightly basis. The ITV2 reality show Love Island celebrates a group of women who practically live in their high-legged swimsuits for the entirety of an eight-week period. Indeed, each of these women poses the question: why bother with an entire outfit when you can ensnare unsuspecting men with one snap of a lycra gusset? Here, Katie Shillingford and Ben Toms explore five ways to emulate this trend with a subversive twist, as seen in AnOther’s S/S18 issue. 

1. Plastic (above)

Norma Kamali is the unrivalled queen of swimwear. Complement one of her pieces with posture as statuesque as a shop mannequin.

2. Watercolour

While it is usually advisable to wear waterproof make-up while lounging by the pool, we say don’t bother; it’s far more alluring to let your full-face run like a watercolour painting. Pair with a Bottega Veneta one-piece and silk trench for ultimate nonchalance.

3. Lace-Up

Nothing says ‘couple up with me’ more than a lace-up swimsuit paired with Jimmy Choo heels. Mounted Vauxhall Astra hubcaps optional. 

4. Hung-Up

A wise Madonna once said: “Waiting for your call baby night and day, I’m fed up, I’m tired of waiting on you”. With this Alberta Ferretti backless swimsuit and gymnastic pose, you will be waiting for no one this summer. 

5. Leather

British summertime is notoriously unpredictable. If you’re caught short when the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse, slip on a pair of leather trousers with your cut-out swimsuit for practicality, warmth and fetishistic chic. 

Hair: Mari Ohashi at LGA Management using Davines. Make-up: Lucy Bridge at Streeters using Chanel Neapolis: New City and Chanel Blue Serum Eye. Models: Akiima at IMG London, Xie Chaoyu at Premier, Kiera Fox and Ellen Freed from New Noveta, Lorna Florence at W Model Management, Amy Gwatkin, Hannah Motler at Premier, Ninouk at Wilhelmina London, Evie Stein at IMM Agency and Vivienne at Ugly Models. Casting: Noah Shelley at AM Casting. Set design: Polly Philp at The Magnet Agency. Manicure: Adam Slee at Streeters using Rimmel. Digital tech: Lee Whittaker. Photographic assistants: Jack Symes, Mike Merkenschlager, Samuel Hearn, and Tim Mahoney. Styling assistants: Jessica Gerardi and Molly Shillingford. Hair assistant: Tommy Taylor. Make-up assistants: Bernadette Krejci and Mattie White. Set-design assistant: Nina George.

This story originally featured in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale now.