I was once asked to talk about the difference between retro and vintage. It was a difficult explanation especially as I didn’t have any images to support my description. So, taking arrival of a gorgeous Mama Maria swimsuit – which is very retro, and made with the appropriate fabrics – I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to make a proper distinction!
Discussing vintage swimwear is a great way to make an example. Of course, you have to remember that swimwear didn't really come into being until the 20's, as before then it was inacceptable to show even a little bit of skin. Materials were normally wool,and it wasn't until the 1940's, with the large-scale introduction of nylon and rayon manufacturing, that swimwear really came into its own. Of course, there was the cut of the cup and the sizing toowhich has evolved, with the shape changing so much over time.
Retro swimwear such as this piece from designer Ruth Kenter (a designer who is inspired by the glamourous fifties), is the perfect combination of glamour and wearability even today. In fact, Retro swimwear is the only way to enjoy swimwear today as it combines the flavour of vintage, but with material that works with our present necessities. With her label Mama Maria,Kenter keeps faithful to the era by designing a higher waist for the bikinis and around the hips the cut is lower. The cup is rounder and the fabrics are UV tested for durability and elasticity.
photographer Julia Mills photographs of me