Planning to hit the beach soon? We catch up with the two hottest resort-wear designers of the moment to check on what’s trending on the beaches this summer: whether you’re headed for a yacht party or a tropical paradise, you’ll be guaranteed to turn heads.
Chloe Dunlop: A Stitch in Time
Growing up on the mesmeric Australian East Coast, home to golden sands and crashing waves, it’s no wonder that swimwear designer Chloe Dunlop developed an affinity for the ocean. Her unique brand of crochet swimwear – which are waterproof and don’t weigh its wearers down – have been spotted on a constellation of celebrities from Gigi Hadid to Kourtney Kardashian. But despite her newfound fame, Dunlop still maintains her natural, free-spirited personality.
What gives She Made Me its signature dreamy, romantic vibe?
She Made Me is a hand-crocheted swim and resort wear label designed in Byron Bay, Australia. I had been working within the swimwear community for seven years and made a natural progression from design and sales to launching my own collection. I embarked on the She Made Me journey with the intention to create timeless, beautiful pieces designed to celebrate handcrafted traditions.
Every She Made Me piece is skilfully hand-crocheted and woven in limited quantities by local artisans throughout Indonesia. Each aspect of the She Made Me garment manufacturing process is ethically-considered and values the importance of human touch and craftsmanship over mass-manufacturing.
Where did you get the idea to make crochet designs the star?
I have always had an affinity for the ocean and crochet. I grew up on the East Coast of Australia and spent an entire childhood by the ocean, in-and-out of swimsuits. After I finished school I knew I wanted to work with swimwear. While working in the Australian swimwear industry, I noticed no one was creating relevant, high-quality crochet swimwear. So in 2013, I took the leap and began She Made Me; a brand which highlights a life lived by the ocean and the beauty of hand-crochet.
Where are your pieces created?
We work with a small group of artisans throughout Bali who are paid fairly and who are able to work autonomously from their villages, which allows them to spend more time at home with their families.
Your designs have appeared on numerous celebs – who had your favourite look?
Having Kourtney Kardashian wearing She Made Me has been incredible for us. The reach of her audience is so much further than we ever imagined and noticed orders being shipped all over the US and Europe, places that we had never shipped to before. It’s also incredibly flattering that she loves our swimsuits and chooses to wear them over all of the other brands she would have available to her. Florence Welch is also a favourite, I am a massive fan of her.
What are your resort looks inspired by?
We’ve realised our girl was really searching for those pieces to pair back with her existing crochet swimwear to create a head-to-toe vacation look. I take inspiration for these pieces from vintage silhouettes. We have limited space in our suitcases so it is important that the items that you pack really have a purpose and are special.
You’re quite the traveller – can you tell us how many countries you’ve been to so far?
Indonesia, Italy, France, Mexico, Cape Verde, Morocco, India, USA, UK & Maldives.
Which country captured your heart the most, and why?
India, the hand-crafts and textiles in India are so captivating. I am always so inspired in India.
Where do you think the most beautiful beaches in the world are?
I truly believe the most beautiful beaches in the world are here in Australia. My favourites are Whites Beach, Wategos and Broken Head, they are all here in Byron Bay. I love the landscape in South-West Sicily too.
Romantic beach looks with Chloe Dunlop
For breakfast on the veranda after morning yoga, slip on the billowy Bodhi mini dress.
If you’re heading out for a midday boat trip to a reef for some snorkelling, the Mana is a sophisticated one-piece swimsuit that’s comfortable and makes a statement.
Lastly, for a romantic dinner on the beach, you can’t go wrong with the intricate, Victorian-inspired Jaya midi dress.
Colour my world: Juliet Dunn
India is a country that’s brimming with colour and candour. From its sprawling beaches, dense rainforests and intricate cultural background, there’s much to fall in love with in this complex country. For British designer Juliet Dunn – whose luxurious, colourful pieces have garnered celeb fans like Beyoncé – it was only natural that she drew inspiration for her luscious beachwear looks from a country as richly textured as India.
Your brand – and yourself – has an incredibly strong connection with India. Tell us how it started.
Following a trip to India in 1999 I fell in love with the colours, fabrics and “can do” attitude. Nothing could stop me working in this amazing country. Sea and beaches are my favourite place so of course what followed was natural progression. Timing was great as the travel boom was just about to start. Serendipity!
Who are the women that your clothes are made for?
My clothes are made for women who travel the world with style, flair and individuality. Women of any age can appreciate the colours, fine hand embroidery and unusual designs. Glamour is ageless.
What do you love about Indian craftsmanship?
I make the collections in various states of India depending on the style of hand embroidery I require. I spend inspirational time with various artisans who love using their skills to create a wonderfully contemporary garment by using techniques which date back hundreds of years. The results make me completely happy. The colours are uplifting.
You’re quite the traveller yourself, aren’t you?
Travelling can sometimes be such a hassle, but the pleasure it gives me when I finally arrive always makes it worthwhile. I had a nomadic childhood, and nothing seems to have changed. I’ve lost count of all the countries I’ve been to.
Which country would you say has captured your heart, and why?
Both Burma and India have captured my heart. India for its quirkiness, colour and eccentricity and Burma for its beauty and spiritualism.
Where have you found the most beautiful islands in the world?
The Maldives or Cyclades. Blue seas and blue skies!
Tell us about an island secret no-one else knows about.
There is a group of uninhabited islands off the coast of Southern Burma in The Andaman Sea called The Mergui Archipelago. They are spectacular. I spent 5 days sailing between the 800 uninhabited islands without seeing a soul except the native Sea Gypsies and fishermen. It was unforgettable.
Head-turning vaycay outfits from Juliet Dunn
Start the day with this Cotton Blouson Dress with Sash. The newest colour-way is a gorgeously vivid marine blue with bright white embroidery. It’s the perfect day dress!
For an easy beach outfit, slip on one of our Hand-Embroidered White Cotton Slip Dresses worn over your bikini.
I’d accessorise with an oversize straw bucket bag, Taylor Morris sunglasses and plenty of vintage Indian silk string bracelets. But the most important accessory of all is plenty of Avene sunblock!
For dinner I would change into one of our Ombre Maxi Silk Kaftans. The silk is embellished with just a dash of sequin scattered hand embroidery which is perfect for catching the candlelight. I’d wear this with embroidered Maharajas slippers, a slick of lipgloss and a happy smile. ◼
© This article was first published online in Mar 2019 – World Travel Magazine.