Vogue magazine has noted her as creating the “ferarraris of Swimwear”.
Melissa is a former model based in London and she is absolutely gorgeous – we adore her as so do many other celebrities such as Beyonce,Rihanna, Rose Huntington-Whiteley, Bella Hadid and Eva Longoria.
I first met Melissa at one of her divine Trunk Shows at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills. I was covering for Entertainment Tonight and then ended up ordering her entire line of Swim wear. I brought my daughter Skyler who was then 9 years old with me. It was from that moment on that Skyler was enlightened and had the idea of creating her own swim wear line. Now 10 years later her dreams and passion for creating swimwear never wavered -only became stronger with her Surf Life in Mexico. Melissa has been a true Role model for my daughter and many other designers with vision and Passion.
For that we thank you along with the pure joy we have when wearing her beautiful and most comfortable creations.
As a former swimwear model who lived and worked in Italy for many years, Melissa Odabash has an innate sense of what women want from their swimwear & beachwear. From the inception of the brand, the collection has been developed and constructed to sculpt and enhance the silhouette. Timeless pieces designed with clean lines and innovative textiles aim to adapt to all body types, making them a must- have for the distinguished global traveller.
Melissa’s debut collection was launched in 1999, a collection which swiftly came to epitomise the glamour and sophistication of a luxury lifestyle brand, and which British Vogue was quick to name as ‘The Ferraris of the bikini world.’ She has been credited with ‘re-introducing high fashion into the swimwear world’ with complementary ranges including everything from beachwear, accessories, children swear and sports luxe. Having been established for well over a decade, her insightful know-how and discerning use of superior fabrics demonstrates the skill and time that it has taken to really become a master in her industry. To date Melissa has been honoured with ‘Designer of the year’ in Paris, ‘Swimwear Designer of the Year’ and ‘Retailer of the Year’ at the London Lifestyle awards which she has been nominated for again this year. Melissa has also been bestowed the honour of receiving the Founder’s Award from the WIE and Humanitarian Award from the Future Dreams charity.Melissa Odabash – Honolua White swimsuit
As an extension of her luxury collection, Melissa has worked with couture designer Julian MacDonald. Together they have created sold out capsule collections pushing swimwear boundaries and creating statement pieces. Odabash & Macdonald marked their fifth collaboration last season, and unveiled the collection at the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix with a star-studded show.
Her collections are distributed in over 50 countries and throughout 500 luxury department stores, boutiques and resorts including her own online web store shipping worldwide. Melissa has two freestanding stores in Notting Hill and Chelsea to offer clients a complete experience of the brand.
With her continuing global success, Melissa has teamed with many high profile stars and brands creating new outlets for her ever-growing following. Melissa has collaborated with Victoria’s Secret, creating their best-selling bikini, created a coffee table book with Bryan Adams for Speedo’s 75th Anniversary, she has developed “the perfect bikinis” with Gwyneth Paltrow for her lifestyle website GOOP and re-developed the iconic swimsuits for the film ‘Diana’ starring Naomi Watts as well as ‘Impossible.’ More recently Melissa teamed up with American fashionista and stylist Rachel Roy to create a decadent capsule swimwear line which achieved astounding success and a bespoke capsule range of pieces for the Outnet.com which launched with a rooftop pool-party in New York.
Melissa has also continued to work in broadcast media, from mentoring the models in the ever popular Britain & Irelands Next Top Model to being a correspondent for the worldwide network France 24 during the Royal Wedding, as well as using her fashion expertise on Strictly Come Dancing it Takes Two.Melissa Odabash – Hawaii White swimsuit
Throughout her success as a designer, Melissa continues to enjoy her numerous philanthropic ventures. To name but a few, she has worked with Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, Prince’s trust, Kidsco, CHIVA and has partnered with Elton John to create an exclusive hat for his Aids Foundation. In 2015 Melissa launched her debut mastectomy line with the Future Dreams Breast Cancer Charity and has another collection in the pipeline for 2017. Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief show which opened London Fashion Week in 2015 also saw Melissa make an exclusive return to the runway for one walk only!
Melissa has also contributed to educational establishments such as speaking to Harvard Alumni in New York and inspiring young undergraduates at London’s Conde Nast College of Fashion & Design.
Melissa Odabash continues to enjoy the attention of A-list stars; Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, Rhianna, Kendall Jenner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sienna Miller, Heidi Klum and Beyoncé are among the celebrities who choose Melissa Odabash whilst on holiday. The collections have a consistent presence in both national and international fashion publications such as Vogue, Elle, Porter, Harper’s Bazaar, In Style and Tatler, as well as huge presence online and support from esteemed fashion bloggers.
Our Surf Chic editors were fortunate to come across this fabulous brand when one of our models was on a photoshoot with famed photographer Anne Menke for their new campaign. We immediately fell in love with the fabrics designs textures along with the super appropriate name for the line- Vagamundo.
We found the Vagamundo brand to be all about beautiful clothing and accessories that fit the bohemian lifestyle of a free-spirited but sophisticated woman who travels, surfs, dreams, seeks adventure and romance, and does it all beautifully while showing the world her own individual style. This is something that embodies the Surf Chic audience.
On a balmy afternoon-We sat down with the ever so talented photography producer turned fashion designer – Brandy Faling. She was thrilled to share her story with us:
1) How did you start Vagamundo and what is the basic theme of your brand?
Vagamundo began as a mutual desire to bring back and share the exotic fabrics, textiles, handcrafts, and other treasures that Sebastian my partner and I would come across during our travels.
At the time, we were based between New York and France, but spending winters in Chile, where Sebastian is from.
In the beginning, we searched for existing clothes, trinkets, and accessories that caught our eye, and we set up shop in a summer beach market in Maitencillo, a very special Chilean surf town which remains Vagamundo’s primary home from December to March.
Each year we found ourselves making extensive changes to improve the clothing designs, altering the patterns, fine-tuning the proportions, sourcing better materials, until gradually we evolved into our own line.
2) What is the inspiration for your company – Designs- and Theme
Sebastian and I have a bit of a bohemian lifestyle ourselves – we live part time between several countries, travel extensively, and have had the opportunity to be a part of many different cultures and industries – from the street-art scene in Paris, European artisan markets, South American surf beaches, ancient villages in India, to the fashion photography world of New York City.
We are endlessly inspired by our travels, art, exploring other cultures, and especially by the unique fashion style of our friends, and the fascinating people we meet on our journeys – the nomads, hippies, surfers, artists, academics, musicians, fashion models, and gypsetters.
This experience and inspiration not only affects the ovrall vibe of our brand, but the actual apparel. Our clothes are designed for travel, made from lightweight materials that are easily hand-washed and air-dried.
We have many items that can be worn in several different ways – throw one piece in your bag, and have four unique outfits! My personal favorite is our Shape-Shifter which can be pants, a strapless romper, off the shoulder blouse, or short sassy dress. We also have a great selection of one-size-fits-most items, which can accommodate sizes 2-16, and are flattering on all shapes.
3) How did you get your start in the photography world and then the fashion world.
I started in the industry as a photographer, which for me organically led to production. As a producer, I originally began my career in advertising, but eventually was introduced to the fashion and retail world, where I found my true fit. The seasonal schedule of shooting is ideal for my lifestyle, and the opportunity to work in different locations and with ever-changing crews of talented, fun, stylish people is truly amazing.
4) Tell us how those 2 worlds intersect for you.
Working as a producer for top retail clothing brands has given me unique insight into many facets of the business that have been very helpful in the creation of our own apparel line. I have also been extremely lucky to build friendships with incredibly talented and generous people who support and encourage our brand with their creative services. Additionally, Vagamundo has provided me the opportunity to re-tap into my passion for photography. I am thrilled to be shooting now more than ever, for our travel and inspiration journal, for social media and marketing, and product photography for the website.
I use my creative background and production knowledge in almost every aspect of the Vagamundo business. This experience is helpful from original concepts, design ideas and fabric choices, to outlining marketing strategies, managing production schedules, organizing our photography projects, creating inspiration storyboards, and art directing the shoots.
It has been a similar experience for Sebastian, whose background is in art, painting, illustration, and graphic design. His creative talents are integral to every facet of the business, from the first design sketches, working with the tailors to perfect our patterns, creating all original t-shirt and embroidery art, to full design and execution of our website and branding. We enjoy the collaboration, and our individual strengths make for a great team!
5) Are all of your designs a one of a kind?
The majority of our designs are original, and we have also reinterpreted and brought our own vision to some classic styles. Our entire silk collection offers one of a kind pieces made from repurposed saris, so no two are alike. Customers love knowing when they wear a Vagamundo silk item, it is a unique piece that no one else will have!
6) Where do your fabrics come from?
Currently, all our fabrics are from India. We travel there each year, scouring the markets in search of beautiful, high quality fabrics to fit our designs. We sort through enormous amounts of material, and also hand-pick each sari that will become part of our silk collection.
7) Tell us about the sustainable factor.
Upcycling existing materials, such as the repurposed saris used to create our silk collection, reduces the environmental impact of each garment by diverting those textiles from ending up in landfills, avoiding the use of valuable resources to create new materials, keeping costs down which allows us to offer luxurious fabrics at affordable prices, and the best part – results in stunning one of a kind pieces!
8) Why do you feel the Eco-Sustainable factor is important in fashion today.
The fashion and textile industry uses many precious resources and is a large contributor to the amount of pollution in the world. Every choice we make as creators and consumers affect the health of the environment, and the more responsible and resourceful we can be, the better for everyone.
9) What can we expect from your next collection and campaign.
The new collection, launching in early spring, will bring fresh new fabrics to our favorite styles. This season we have woven in some monochromatic prints and solid colored materials to balance our continuing selection of gorgeous textures and patterns.
This season will feature new original designs across all collections, and we round out our loose and flowy classics with some more streamlined and contemporary silhouettes, such as a straight silk skirt, a fit and flare dress with cut outs, and sporty trousers.
We are especially excited about our expanding line of jackets. Our classic army acket now comes in more color options and we’ve added a bomber jacket in a variety of the coolest colors, all of which feature original embroidery art. We also have a new short jean-style jacket in durable fabric, each piece individually adorned with vintage textiles hand-picked during our treasure hunting in India. We are also unveiling two new and very different styles of silk jackets.
We will also be launching a new collection of carefully curated jewelry and accessories.
10) When does the new campaign launch and where can our readers purchase your beautiful clothing.
The new line will launch in April, and our apparel and accessories can be purchased at www.vagamundostyle.com, where we offer free shipping in the USA, as well as shipping to Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the UK (with additional countries coming soon). @vagamundostyle
Hair and make-up: Graziella Jones/ Photography: Anne Menke
That chill in the air means many of us are already pining for warmer climes. And in the coming months, millions will jet to tropical locales and balmy beaches. But this paradise pastime also means the female types among us are back to picking out the “perfect” bathing suit. Didn’t we just do this a few weeks ago? And finding the right fit can take time. Traditionally, designs did not account for all sexy shapes and sizes.
But fortunately, over the past few years, the designs, they are a changin’. Manufacturers have seen the light and are finally creating swimwear for woman of all curves and cambers. A major slice of this $17 billion-dollar bathing suit business is sporty, active swimwear. But here’s the hitch, ladies looking for active swimwear with upmarket sensibilities have so far been out of luck. The message has been: you can either be active, or sophisticated – but not both. And this is Dos Gardenias, a new swimwear line dives into the story.
Powerhouse business women Dorothy Day and Brighdie Grounds who say they spend a “majority” of their free time “submerged in sand, salt water” have created a chic line of swimwear that can keep up with the most active woman, yet never skimps on craftsmanship or style. Produced in the U.S., the women have sourced only the finest fabrics from France and Italy, and Neoprene from Japan. Grounds says, “We knew that the high-end luxury swimwear market was not designed to appeal to the buyer with an active lifestyle. We set out to fulfill that void.”
Growing up in Southern California the women have spent their entire lives in and out of the ocean. In fact, their passion for surfing can be seen in the thoughtful way Dos Gardenias swimwear is constructed. Day says, “[Ground and I] are both pleasure seeking surfers, so when it came to our brand, making no sacrifice for design while using superior quality materials that actually stayed on when in motion was our motivation.”
It makes sense that their watchword is “utilitarian.” They create silhouettes that aspire to this functional, practical ideal. This translates into a monochromatic, but vibrant color palette that flatters every woman’s figure. But it’s the cut that makes the difference. “Design lines are tricky,” says Grounds, “with each body type suiting a different style.” As an example, she notes that “low-waisted styles are best for high-waisted girls and high-waisted styles for long-waisted girls.” What separates Dos Gardenias from other lines is, well, separates. That is, the company sells deftly designed separates so that you can find just the right fit. It’s more than just a great marketing strategy. Both women are passionate about finding the perfect suit for every woman, one that gives her confidence.
Yet, the ladies are firm believers that just because something is practical, it doesn’t have to be plain Jane. To the contrary, they find creative inspiration from Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Dolce Gabbana, Givenchy, Thierry Mugler, and Alia.
Dos Gardenias’ pairing of practicality and posh is resonating with women of all facts and figures. However, despite their differences, they share one thing in common. Day says a Dos Gardenias woman is “sophisticated with a wild heart”. She loves fashion but defines herself as an original making it her own. She is not afraid to spend money on the pieces that make up her staple wardrobe.” Staple being the operative word as swimwear isn’t just for summer anymore. With the ease of global travel, swimsuit season is fast becoming year-round. (For the record, the average American woman owns four swimsuits).
However, the Dos Gardenias vision goes beyond a smart business model. The founders are philanthropists who have spent years giving of their time, talent, and resources to improving the lives of people and communities. So it is not surprise that Dos Gardenias will be contributing to causes like Waves for Water (WavesforWater.org), which works on the front-line to provide clean water to communities in need around the world and Glam4Good (Glam4Good.com), a non-profit fashion/beauty movement, that ignites positive social change through style.
These women are revolutioning swimwear one suit at a time, but don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of very hard work behind the glamour. And like other working moms, mountains of sacrifice and moments of daydreaming. Asked what they would consider paradise, Ground says, “It would be to sleep in.” But as a visionary, she doesn’t stop there, no, next stop for the dynamic duo would be a “day spa and lunch break of truffle pasta.” Wearing Dos Gardenias swimsuits, no doubt.
1. Tell us about your love of Mexico.
After falling in love with surfing, I found myself taking quarterly trips to Saladita and Troncones in the state of Guerrero. One day, a friend recommended going to Sayulita, Nayarit. From the moment I set foot onto the cobble stones of the pueblo leading to the main surf break of Sayulita, I knew I found home.
2. How has your love of Mexico influenced you creatively?
Mexico is an exercise in sensory awareness. The colors of the geography, the smell of the food, the sound of the ocean and jungle. It forces you stop and take it all in and once you are in the moment amazing things happen and your creativity soars.
3. How has Sayulita inspired your design specifically- is so?
When I first came to Sayulita, no one really knew about it. Having lived in Europe, New York and California I have always loved people watching and took note of peoples personal style. Now, Sayulita is a destination on the radar on an international level. People come to Sayulita on vacation with their best beach fashion packed and ready to display. I get to see beach chic interrupted in different ways every day.
4. What are your favorite elements of Mexico?
Having road tripped around Mexico with my husband who was born and raised in Mexico, the insider perspective and experience is something that you cannot delve into as a tourist. I love it all… the mountains, the lakes, the cities, of course the beaches most of all the people and always the food.Photo: Nik West
5. You could live and work anywhere in the world, what makes Sayulita special to you?
I have watched Sayulita grow over the last decade and the roots and community have stayed in tact. Its a special place. I always say that Sayulita has a piece of my heart and no matter where I travel I have to come back to Sayulita to make my heart whole again.
6. Tell us about your incredibly creative photoshoots in the water with your models surfing and beach back drop. . What was your inspiration for the black and white along with the beautiful compositions?
Being a fashion model and having been a creative director of a magazine. I see things in black and white or color. I have always loved black and white and admired photographers such as Helmut Newton, Peter Lindberg, and Max Vadukul. I have also had the privilege of working with these legends as a model.We wanted to show the beach and surfing in a different way. Everyone things of blues and greens when they think of the ocean. Composition in the water is up to the photographer and their personal eye. We love, how our water shoots turned out and are looking forward to doing more.