By: Caitlin Stiles
Faena Hotel Miami Beach was home to Miami Swim Week for 2021, where many designers found their prized collections for summer hit the runway in a dazzling show full of neon colors, metallic tones, and unprecedented diversity. The coveted haircare brand Pureology sponsored the event, while designers such as Natalia Fedner, Lila Nikole, Giannina Azar, Fernando Alberto, and more turned out dazzling collections. Many of these designers, such as Natalia Fedner, are up and coming stars with much more to show, and if anything, Miami Swim Week demonstrated just that.
Jamie Wiley, artistic director for the the number one in color care, Pureology, held much of the behind-the-scenes spotlight, being in charge of hair (naturally) for an endless stream of models. Among them are names like Carmen Carrera from Drag Race fame and the first trans supermodel, and Antje Uutgard for the Matte collection, who surprised with a show from pop group BIA. The designers Jamie Wiley attended are certainly no slouches either: two big names are Natalia Fedner, the one in charge of Beyonce’s cover looks for her recent album Black is King and Doja Cat‘s looks in her video You Right, and Keva J Swimwear, with its funky cuts and bright colors for any body shape.
Jamie’s signature touch on hair was apparent in both shows; both in dreamy, natural waves that scream ‘water.’ It set the tone perfectly in Natalia Fedner’s show in particular, because she embraces 1930s Hollywood glam for her models, no matter the collection. Think side parts, consistent waves, smokey eyes, and of course, that lip. The strong look was softened to bring through the beach needed for the swim show, but old Hollywood still shone through as Natalia’s pieces sparkled and caught the light on the runway.
It’s easy to think of Leia Skywalker and the iconic metal bikini scene when thinking of metal, fashion, and 1930s Hollywood, but Natalia Fedner makes her line so much more than that. Her patented metal textile is see-through and sheer, so it doesn’t look like metal. Instead, it contains an impossible sort of dreaminess and eerie effortlessness in each runway look: it’s reflective, it’s shiny, but it flows just like any other fabric. The gold, silver, and copper tones are really the only way you can tell; Natalia fits right in when it comes to swimwear in Miami Swim Week, despite her start in couture. With Natalia’s vision, it’s only natural models look more like Ursula Andress in that certain James Bond scene: emerging from water, and doing so effortlessly.
Beauty Dabble had the pleasure of sitting down with both Jamie Wiley and Natalia Fedner for Miami Swim Week, and it became immediately clear how their inspiration both came from water. Jamie Wiley even prepared in a hands-on approach for the event.
“I prepared by the water!” she said. “Going to the lake and being around water. I draw inspiration from nature and the energy outside.”
Natalia Fedner added that she loosened up her usual Hollywood theme, saying “we loosened the hair a touch for a bit more of a beachy vibe and lightened the lip.” Her vision fell right into line with Jamie’s, who drew inspiration also from how the models did their hair from day to the day. Couture meets natural. High fashion meets vacation. Red carpet meets the beach. Perhaps it came about because of the pandemic, with how requests came about. Natalia details about how Covid-19 shifted sales from more boutique to “DTC” (direct to consumer) sales. “I think there is also more emphasis on purchasing things that bring you true joy. Luxury is certainly having a resurgence.” Here, Natalia details on a final dream: to have her pieces in The Met one day.
This also made sense with how Natalia found herself designing swimwear to begin with. “As a couture designer, my foray into swimwear evolved from the needs of my clients. I kept getting requests for bikinis from various celebrities. As I developed custom pieces, I also explored new ideas of what a “bikini” is in both look and function.” What’s really couture about the look is the metal she incorporates like the rest of her line. She often jokes “you really shouldn’t swim in it!” This is immediately followed with “The person who wears my metal bikinis – is someone very confident who wants to be seen.”
This kind of visibility is absolutely crucial to Natalia’s work. With Beyonce and Doja Cat as clients, and Vogue reaching out to her personally in recent times, it isn’t surprising that all sorts of celebrities are on Natalia’s radar. She tells an inspiring story of how setting intentions become reality: “I designed a dress called ‘Charlize’ named after Charlize Theron because I could picture her in it. And then Charlize Theron ended up wearing it in an editorial for Esquire.” This was during the first year of her line, a truly incredible moment, which would turn out to be foreshadowing for her career to come.
Jamie Wiley also showcased her work in Keva J Swimwear , on the opposite side of the spectrum from Natalia Fedner’s work. Keva J is one show that comes to mind for the rest of Jamie Wiley’s vision: lots of color and life. “Coming out of a pandemic, it’s time to be playful and heat up in the sun. This year’s inspiration came from bright colors, lots of water, and embracing natural textures.”
Keva J is obviously all of this, and not just with hair. Every skin tone and body type is celebrated on their runway. There’s no metal to be found, just close fitting suits with unique cuts and colors. The chartreuse green suit in particular screams for attention, and it completes Jamie’s vision while Natalia brings the glitz and glamour. And for hair, there is plenty of texture to be found on Keva J Swimwear’s runway.
“Styling their hair naturally and embracing natural texture this summer (and beyond) by loosening the beach wave to a softer wave is pushing [the natural] look.” This was found to an extent in Natalia’s show, but Keva J really brought the approachable vibe while never giving up high fashion and edge.
Finally, Jamie Wiley shares her favorite Pureology and secret weapon for the backstage: the Weightless Volume Mousse.
“I can use it for multiple styles: I can blow dry it into hair to add volume, I can create wet looks, add texture and hold, it’s great for braiding. Plus, it’s perfect for all textures of hair.”
There is plenty of action and exciting trends to find for Miami Swim Week, and plenty of designers that will be exciting to watch. Did you tune in for Miami Swim Week 2021? What was your favorite show and runway?