Bianca Balti Unveils Debut Swimwear Collection – British Vogue
FROM concept to creation, Bianca Balti’s debut swimwear label – which launches on Yoox tomorrow – may be be one of the fastest turnarounds to date. But, as the model told us of her eponymous line, when you have a strong design aesthetic and idea of what you want to achieve, the rest comes easy. Of course the support from the Italian e-commerce giant helps; the brand’s founder and CEO, Federico Marchetti, personally invited Balti to design the collection – an offer she could not refuse, she told us – which, three months later, hits the virtual shelves. It is however, despite the speed of its creation, more than just a vanity project. Italian Balti has incorporated flattering silhouettes and shapes for sizes ranging from six to 20, bucking the barely-there trend, and is intent that comfort lies at its core.
How does it feel to be launching your label?
“As you can understand, everything has been rushed in the last three months, from the first meeting in March during Fashion Week through to the campaign. In my head, it’s like if it has already been launched. At this point, I really hope for the appreciation of our customers!”
What makes your eponymous brand stand out beside other swimwear labels?
“I wanted to create a line that would make women feel comfortable at the beach. The trend now is mini bikinis and, of course, I decided to go in the opposite direction; not everybody feels good exposing a lot of skin.”
What was your inspiration?
“The inspiration was the Pirelli calendar, shot by Harry Peccinotti in 1968. It shows the beaches in California, the girls playing volleyball, with their blonde hair and those beautiful bikinis they wore in the Sixties.”
What were the main things that you wanted to achieve?
“I wanted to have some pieces that not only would be high-waisted to contain, but also covering the B-side – aka butt cheeks – but also being cool and fashionable. To me it’s all about the details and the quality that were used in the past. Which I never want to lose.”
The one-piece swimsuit is seeing a resurgence in popularity – why do you think that is?
“Because you just wear a pair of shorts and you’re ready to go to lunch, then you slip a pair of heels on and you can go to dinner. It’s multipurpose and it reflects the need of a modern woman to be ready to jump into every situation that life brings to her. Not everybody feels good exposing too much skin. That’s why this collection has so many pieces that cover strategically the belly and the thighs.”
You are one of a growing number of models to turn designer – what do you think your experiences in the industry bring to the table?
“Well, I’ve seen a whole lot of bathing suits in my career, but also many great designs in general; I think that is the reason why I wanted products that feel more like clothes than bathing suits.”
How involved are you in the business side of your business?
“I’m a control freak, so I’m very involved, especially in the design and creativity. I know what I want and it’s hard to delegate.”
The size range is from six to 20 so very inclusive – why did you decide on this and why is it important to you as a designer?
“Because my friends and family are real people and they wear all sizes; I couldn’t imagine designing something that my loved ones could not wear.”
Bikini or costume: in which one do you feel better?
“It depends; Usually I’d wear a bikini as I like to tan my belly, but after my pregnancy I definitely preferred to be more covered up with a one piece.”
How do you plan to promote the brand?
“My dream is for the collection to speak for itself; I would love ladies in their fifties to talk at the beach about the good quality of my swimwear and teenagers about how the cool design is. So I really hope for word of mouth to be effective.”
Do you see further categories being added at a later point?
“I totally have something else I’m already working on, something that has been my dream for the last 10 years. But as it is still a dream, I can’t reveal it yet! I can just anticipate that it will be something unexpected.”