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From Australia With Love — Discover Kooey Swimwear

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It’s a pleasantly warm (for winter standards) day in NYC, which is making my imagination roam to sweaty summer days on remote beaches — and, of course, in my daydream, I’m wearing a fantastic swimsuit. Since it’s a daydream and not a delusion, most of the swimsuits I’m envisioning are one-piece styles, some with adventurous cut-outs or plunging necklines (hey, I may not be 100% comfy in a bikini, but some sexy cut-outs here and there are a must). And, of course, they’re in one of my favorite colors (as far as apparel, that is): red. So, basically, I’m daydreaming about Kooey Australia’s Kimberley Collection, which incorporates several frisky pieces with mambo-flavored ruffles and petal-like accents. Nikki Silverthorne, Design Director for Kooey Australia, says the Kimberly collection (which was unveiled last year and was the second collection for the two-year-old swimwear line) was inspired by “the red sands and landscape of the Kimberley Region in northwest Australia, one of the only places in the world where the red desert sands meet the ocean.”

My absolute favorite style within the Kimberley collection is the Spear Neck One Piece, pictured at top, which features petal-shaped embellishments along the plunging neckline, layered atop one another so that they seem to trickle down in a cascading fashion, at first completely covering the shoulder area, then narrowing a bit around the bosom and even more around the bottom of the “V” shape. The Frill One Piece, pictured second from top, is another beautiful option. I’ll admit: when I first saw the silhouette, I figured it would make anyone with a curvaceous figure look like a contestant in a Miss Pudgy Pageant — I mean, those ruffles look like they’d add volume in the worst possible places, right? Interestingly enough, when I saw the swimsuit on different women (not all stick thin, I might add), I realized the diagonal ruffles are actually expertly placed so that they show off the bosom but then conceal any extra bulge around the tummy, and the ruffles along the sides add a nice fashionable edge. Now, if you want a more adventurous, a revealing silhouette, a good option might be the Ring Centre Cutout Full Piece (pictured third from top).

What’s so impressive about Kooey Australia is how the designs take into account everything from color to fit, texture, and function. For example, a look at their bikini tops alone will reveal a range of cuts and styles that take into account the amount of coverage needed (a woman with a smaller bosom might opt a triangle-shaped bra top whereas one with a more ample chest might prefer a wrap front top), as well as the type of fashion statement customers wish to make (a style-driven shopper will go ga-ga over the T-Bar top, a sophisticated design with a bandeau bra along the bosom, a collar shape around the neck, and a vertical center strip, with the shoulders fully exposed).

In order to design a truly compelling, cohesive line that appeals to a wide range of women with different tastes and body types, an expansive knowledge of beachwear is necessary — and, given that 90% of the Australian population lives in coastal areas, this clearly gives the Australian design tea behind Kooey a competitive edge. According to Silverthore, “Kooey captures the colors and shapes of Australia’s spectacular landscape through the striking original prints created Australian indigenous artist, Anne Kngwarreye, with each print designed to represent the specific area of Australia which inspired each particular collection.”

Launched in 2008, Kooey made its foray into the US last year, appearing at Miami’s 2010 SwimShow, where it was received tons of acclaim from fashion insiders. For its 2010 collection, Silverthorne says the Kooey team drew inspiration from the sea life found in Australia’s Ningaloo Reef, so expect a range of aquatic shades and vibrant under-the-sea motifs.

Kooey Spear Neck One Piece, $140; Frill One Piece, $140; and Ring Centre Cutout Full Piece, $100. Visit Kooey.com

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