Founded in 2011, Verano High officially launched this fall with a collection that has already caught the eyes of some of the industry's biggest buyers (we can't yet reveal who, but after spending a few hours in the showroom expect to see the line in some of the world's most well-known retail shops). Print-heavy, the collection includes swimwear and resortwear designed with day-to-night versatility in mind. We spoke with designer Maria LaRosa to find out about fit, finding the right cut for your body type, what we can expect from the line in the coming seasons, and more.
The Fashion Spot: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into designing?
Maria LaRosa: I have a background in interior design so I’ve designed and decorated homes, offices, buildings… you name it! I enjoy the challenge of different projects and now I’ve been able to translate my education into fashion design. Every time I go to Colombia, I find myself bringing back suitcases of bathing suits for friends who insisted that I buy them these “miracle suits and beachwear.” When I realized how difficult it was to find flattering yet sexy “Colombian style” suits in the U.S., I decided to design my own.
tFS: What is it about swimwear that you find so exciting?
ML: Shopping for swimwear can be stressful and the response I’ve been getting about the “flattering and sexy” nature of my fit has been the most exciting part of the process. I love making my clients feel good and look good.
tFS: With swimwear, fit can make all the difference. How do you go about making sure yours is spot on?
ML: I have girls of all shapes and sizes, curvy, slim, size As and Ds try on my resortwear; it is my responsibility to make sure that they all feel sexy and comfortable. I offer two different fits — one is less coverage on the bottom, and the other fit offers more coverage. It is entirely up to you to decide how you want it to look and feel. It is all about my customers, if they aren’t happy, then we have to tweak the fit, but I think we have just about achieved perfection!
Designer Maria LaRosa
tFS: What are some of the most challenging parts of designing and manufacturing swimwear that people may not know about?
ML: Like any fashion line, sometimes sketches and details can get lost in translation. Sometimes a sample has to be made a few times before I’m sure that it is to my liking. I try to think of every intricate detail to make my line stand out. As for things that people might not know… did you know that certain hardware can burn your skin on a bathing suit or bikini? I have avoided this by making sure any metal on the suits are dipped in gold, just in case it is a 90 degree day! We don’t want any pesky burns….burns and bikinis do not match!
tFS: Do you find that swimwear is influenced by seasonal trends in the same way that ready-to-wear is?
ML: Absolutely! Prints and metallics have been very important this season. Although it is important to have a few “solid” solids, I’ve made an extra effort to make my new collection stand out, by using the best materials and fabrics from Colombia, I’ve been told it stands out…
tFS: What are some swimsuit styles that you like, aside from the standard one-piece and bikini?
ML: I like variations of classics, such as a one-piece that has a discreet, flattering cut-out. I really love the idea of a complete beach outfit that can be worn into the night. Picture a one-piece tube style (sweetheart neck) worn under our silk tye dyed dress. As you walk, the dress floats in this almost ethereal way, it makes me smile anytime I see it on. The combination is sexy enough for the beach, and elegant enough for a sit down dinner. Think Cartagena during New Year’s…
tFS: Can you tell us about some of the inspiration behind your current prints?
ML: My current prints are very tropical and “jungle” climate oriented. I was inspired by my recent travels, one of my favorites prints on the line is “Havana” — bright emerald greens and bold leaf prints.
tFS: We're seeing a lot of ready-to-wear inspired by swimwear and even some people wearing bikini tops as tops! What's your take on that?
ML: When swimwear is done right, who wouldn’t want to wear it as an outfit? I like the idea of a one-piece worn together with jeans, but this can also go very wrong! The one-piece would have to have the support of a bra and look of an evening top.
tFS: Do you have any tips for finding the best suit for your body type?
ML: Yes. Try on what you are drawn to and when you feel confident enough to go outside of the dressing room in it, that is the right suit for your body type!
tFS: What's an ideal beach/pool outfit in your opinion?
ML: My ideal outfit is one that can take you from the beach to dinner to a night out dancing. I like to simplify my life when possible, so I’m all about throwing on a beautiful silk dress over one of my bikinis and changing it up a bit for the evening… perhaps take the bikini off and throw on lacy undergarments or a slip and continue with the night.
tFS: What can we expect in seasons to come?
ML: I can’t tell you too much, you’ll have to wait and see. But, I can say that the new prints and styles are to die for. I found new metallic fabrics that can rival the sparkle of a Graff diamond. You will be glistening underwater. Need I say more?!