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July 31 2014

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Look Better (Almost) Naked

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“Wearing a bikini is the most naked we ever are in public, so I wanted to create a palette of classic silhouettes that make it easy for women to enjoy that experience,” says swimwear designer Matthew Zink. “I think the swimwear market was missing a brand for the ultimate bikini lover. There didn’t seem to be a provocative swimwear outlet for the gal that wanted a simple approach to feeling sexy.”

Zink certainly knows a thing or two about designing for the almost-naked body—he spent five years at the helm of Victoria’s Secret as the lingerie powerhouse’s design director. During that time, he fell in love with swimwear and eventually departed to launch his line, Charlie by Matthew Zink, in July 2010. “I had so many girl friends that couldn’t seem to find a classic, simple, sexy bikini, so I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the golden era of swimwear that represented the joyful sexuality of the seventies and eighties,” Zink (who also had stints working under Stefano Pilati and Carolina Herrera) tells Style.com, naming the likes of Jerry Hall, Stephanie Seymour, Gianni Versace, and Roy Halston as muses and mentors for his work. “I want to capture that effervescent glamour of these icons of the past.”

Cher, in particular, was his icon of choice for his latest retro collection of swimwear and cover-ups. “I tried to imagine Cher bursting into the Rainbow Room with its arresting rainbow-lighted, oval-shaped ceiling and countless palm plants reaching high above the tables filled with guests that seem to go on forever.” In swimwear terms, that translated into barely-there bikinis in varying bright shades of blue and green, offered in zigzag and dot prints, and cover-ups to match. And it appears retailers like what they see—the line is already available on Net-a-Porter, but Zink’s latest collection ($190 to $375) has also been snatched up by the likes of Barneys (hitting stores later this month), TheCorner.com, and the Webster. Coming soon to Charlie by Matthew Zink: shoes.

Photo: Courtesy of Charlie by Matthew Zink

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