Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim concluded weekend before last and PR Couture was there to preview and review all of the bikini-clad fun, while witnessing fashion designer’s PR practices along the way. In its fifth year, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, produced by IMG Fashion, was a spectacular event held at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach. Press, buyers and celebrities gathered to view 2010 collections from several designers including: Tibi, Marysia Swim, ANK, Red Carter, L*Space, Mara Hoffman, White Sands Australia, Poko Pano, Xtra Life Lycra, and Luli Fama. This year’s event showcased 19 designers, the largest number to date.
Taking place from July 15th-19th, the week was filled with non-stop fashion activity, on and off the runway. While the hype alone surrounding Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim is quite significant, it is still necessary for designers to create a unique presence and experience for attendees as each compete for the attention of the press, buyers and celebrity attendees. Keeping the attention and interest of an editor after she has already sat through several shows requires being either a desired “must-see” brand or having an effective blend of PR presence and panache to garner the attention of the media. As a quick example, Ed Hardy and SUSHISAMBA dromo held a press review for the first edible bikini, which drew an interested and bemused crowd.
The Newcomer - Marysia Reeves/Leapfrog PR
Emerging designer Marysia Reeves of Marysia Swim showcased for the first time at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim this year. A recent addition to the runway scene, Marysia won the emerging designer competition at Charleston Fashion Week in March, which PR Couture of course covered! Marysia’s publicist, Jackie T. Thomson of Leapfrog PR, shared with PR Couture the strategy behind gaining the attention of the media, buyers and fashion attendees.
“It was definitely important to do something different to gain attention for Marysia’s show,” said Jackie. In order to ensure strong attendance to the Thursday night showcase, Leapfrog made sure their teaser was more than a simple invite, they shared high-quality images from a photoshoot with a nationally recognized photographer, using the images as a tool to reach out to the media with a powerful visual and a sneak peek at what they could expect to see. Following her participation in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim, Marysia was chosen as Style.com’s Look of the Day.
The Innovator - Ed Hardy/Tres Koi PR
While surveying the scene at the aforementioned edible bikini review on Saturday, PR Couture had the chance to steal a few moments with Alexis Knapp of Tres Koi PR to get the scoop on the event and Friday's successful True Religion show. “I think from a production standpoint you always run into glitches," Alexis explained. "When you put on a show you think it’s going to run a certain way, and it doesn’t always run the way you think it will. I think we were able to mask those challenges and trouble shoot immediately on-the-spot and that was very helpful to us.” Alexis handles PR for both True Religion and Ed Hardy Swimwear, and her event planning PR tip is that you can never ever be prepared enough. “Make sure you have at least two run throughs beforehand.”
The Outsider - Shay Todd
While all the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim-sponsored activities, poolside events, and more happening, the Swimwear Association of Florida hosted SwimShow2010 from July 18th -21st at the Miami Beach Convention Center, just up the road from The Raleigh. There, PR Couture caught up with swimwear designer, Shay Todd, who had a booth at the tradeshow. Shay Todd didn’t show in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim, instead, she hosted her own event amid the “swim” festivities. Presented by Nivea, Shay Todd 2010 Collection Fashion Show was held at the W South Beach.
When asked about her thoughts on the future of runway shows, Shay said, “Runway shows allow designers to showcase their collection the way they want to have them featured. When a designer receives editorial coverage or is presented in stores, they don’t always have control of how they are featured, but runway shows allow the designer’s true vision to be seen.”
Despite all of the negative press regarding the future and cost of runway shows, people still enjoy all of the glitz and glamour associated with the high-energy events. With the continued success of events like Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim, runway shows are likely to continue to gain support from designers, fashion publicists and fans alike.