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Have We Reached Peak Velvet?

The fabric has somehow managed to infiltrate the swimwear market.

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Photo: Roxana Salehoun

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What screams “happy holidays!” louder than anything to you? Perhaps it’s a hot batch of spiked cider, your grandmother’s famous ginger snaps, or the sweet, sweet opening strains of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” For me, it’s velvet. Literally anything made of velvet.

Except, perhaps, for the Roxana Salehoun velvet bikini that landed in my inbox this morning as part of a standard winter fashion pitch. The cheery subject line read “Holiday 2016 // Heading to the Beach?” — and to be fair, the first half made total sense. As for the second? Despite my unshaken opinion that velvet is in fact seasonless, it seems like the absolute least practical fabric one could possibly wear shoreside. Between the sand, the sunscreen, and the saltwater, it all sort of sounds like a recipe for disaster — or, at the very least, a wardrobe malfunction.

Two velvet swim looks from Roxana Salehoun’s spring 2016 and spring 2017 collections.
Two velvet swim looks from Roxana Salehoun’s spring 2016 and spring 2017 collections.

But! According to the pitch, the bikini in question is actually waterproof! And Roxane Salehoun isn’t the only designer to experiment with the fabric’s in-pool potential lately: From Adriana Degreas to Lisa Marie Fernandez to Karla Colletto, lots of swimwear brands have been producing swimmable styles in the fuzzy fabric. And aside from recommending that you hand wash your suit after wearing, none of them appear to be dry clean only or otherwise especially delicate. (The same cannot be said of Missoni’s crochet-knit bikinis, which are listed on Net-a-Porter along with the following, hilarious disclaimer: “To get the best from your Missoni beachwear, we advise that you do not wear it to swim.”)

But does the fact that fashion’s current favorite fabric has now improbably infiltrated the beachwear market mean that — gasp — we’ve finally reached peak velvet? More importantly, would you pack a velvet bikini for your next sunny getaway?

Two velvet swim looks from Lisa Marie Fernandez’s resort 2016 collection.
Two velvet swim looks from Lisa Marie Fernandez’s resort 2016 collection.