This weekend I took my four-year-old for her first swimming lesson, thanks to the swimsuit issue we have been working on. Last year, when I had attempted the same exercise, I had to admit defeat after a couple of rounds, because all I got for my trouble was a scratched face, many thwacks and ears ringing from her high-pitched screams. This year I was smarter and better prepared. First, I took her shopping for a new swimsuit — she picked a pink, frilly number — then I got her a small battery-operated yacht which would swim with her and we finally descended on the pool at 8.30am on Sunday when no other screaming babies were around.
Haute stuff: Ranna Gill’s swimsuit range starts at Rs2,500.
I am happy to report that while there was no real lesson, she got into the splash pool on her own and spent an hour just walking in it, collecting baby mango buds (our pool is out in the open, under a mango tree).
Well, bringing out a swimsuit special is all about preparation and always having a plan B in place, just as stylists/writers Parizaad Khan and Rachana Nakra did when they went on the swimsuit shoot in Mumbai. The sea off the Gateway of India decided to play up that day and even though the yawing yacht made most of them sick, Parizaad and Rachana convinced the yacht management to move to another location and made sure six sizzling pictures were canned that very day.
The duo’s swimsuit tip of the season: Stick to scintillating one-piece bathing suits, something my stylist pal at Elle, deputy fashion editor Malini Banerji, seconds. According to her, it is not the solid one-piece that will rule the racks, but ones with geometric patterns and cuts that show some and hide some to create a sexy feel. And if you are a bikini lover, and cannot do without your two-piece, make sure what you wear has floral patterns or polka prints.
I like the swimsuits in Ranna Gill’s Havana collection which were seen at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2008, last September. The pieces, with a Latin American look, are sexy, wearable and available in five sizes from extra small to extra large, a huge plus in my book.
For this issue, apart from the four-page swimsuit spread (Page L12), our plan from the word go was to collect swimwear and swimming experiences, too. Reading Anil Padmanabhan’s diary (Page L16) brought back memories of my own “jewel green” (my mother’s way of describing emerald) one-piece, hand-me-down swimsuit. I was 11, I think, and I hated the idea of wearing a “green” bathing suit that had belonged to someone else. Of course, my mother couldn’t care less and my teenage years were spent in it until a friend bought me my first tankini from Down Under.
Before you read our celebrity swimsuit diaries, check out what some members of the Lounge team say about their first swimsuits:
My mom’s younger sister bought me my first swimsuit in Goa on a family vacation. I must have been 9 or 10. It was turquoise blue with multicoloured waves. On the first day, I refused to get out of it till I went to bed.
— Sanjukta Sharma
I got my purple and pink bikini at 7. I wore it for a beach holiday and my family made a big production of taking my photos. When I look at those pictures, I see myself looking really happy.
— Parizaad Khan
I must have been 2 when my mom bought my first bikini, and it was green. From photo albums, I can see I was obsessed with it and, for some reason, I liked to wear it with gumboots.
— Tara Kilachand
My first ‘adult’ bathing suit was one-piece, with the stomach and back cut out. Basically, it was like a bikini-with-training-wheels. It had black and white polka dots and unbeknown to us, the white dots didn’t protect from the sun. I wound up with the most bizarre polka-dot tan on my body. It was humiliating.
— Melissa A. Bell
Priya Ramani is away until August. Catch up on her travels at Blogs.livemint.com.
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