Designer Spotlight - AVA VERDÚ
Have you ever struggled with choosing the right swimwear for your body shape? Our newest designer knows exactly what will flatter your silhouette!
'Swimwear shouldn't be a struggle', says Ann-Marie Buckley. Her swimwear brand, AVA VERDÚ, has a clever design architecture and innovative structure making it effotless to wear.
In this interview, we find out what inspired Ann-Maire to become a swimwear designer and how AVA VERDÚ was born into the world of fashion.
Curated Crowd: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a swimwear designer?
Ann-Marie: I’ve always loved fashion, from a very early age I was a loyal, avid VOGUE reader (I still have early copies from 1987+).
I dreamt of moving to London and started my career in Marketing, studying in Dublin and then later at the London College of Fashion. I managed to get a job at Browns on South Molton Street, and was very fascinated by the fashion industry - how clothing can make you feel and how it moves on the body, how it can empower you and give you confidence. At Browns, I learnt to fully appreciate fashion and the importance of quality, materials and craftsmanship, the overall design and how they all could come together to make something exquisite and special.
Ultimately, I wanted to create something for myself, to make something exquisite. Swimwear was an obvious choice as for me it represents fun times and happy memories. I always struggled to find well fitting and sophisticated swimwear for myself, so I guess you could say that AVA VERDÚ was born out of my own want. I was born by the sea and to me the beach is a very happy, carefree place that I associate with friends and holidays. I see the beach as an occasion to get dressed for, my swimwear is an outfit and I believe in the beach wardrobe. On holiday, I spend many hours in my bikini or swimsuit, sometimes at midnight, I am still wearing it so it is important to me that it feels and looks as good as it can.
CC: What is your inspiration behind the designs?
A-M: My designs are influenced by structure and tailoring. I work with the body, looking at ways to enhance the female form, and also taking into consideration those little parts that need more design sensibility. When you look at a well-designed jacket or dress, you can see how it moulds to the body and how it sculpts the form. I wanted to bring that attention to detail to swimwear design.
I wanted to design swimwear that made women look and feel great at a time when they are at their most self-conscious. I researched a lot, looking at swimwear shapes over the years, from trends and fads to how swimwear is worn and indeed at how body shapes have changed over time.
AVA VERDÚ is designed for the body not for fashion fads, and these are timeless pieces to collect and enjoy, to build upon. I feel the AVA VERDÚ woman has an investment wardrobe, that she has built up over time with key pieces that she can rely on, from occasion to occasion. Why would swimwear be any different?
Ann-Marie's initial sketches and inspirations for her swimwear collection
AVA VERDÚ's signature stingray accessory on each swimwear
CC: Have you ever experienced a ‘designers- block’? If so, how do you overcome it?
A-M: Of course, there have been many sleepless nights, usually trying to solve the perfect fit. It takes so many renditions of a sample before it can get to that ‘sign off’ stage and it takes time to work out a solution.
I stress a lot about colour choices and combinations, and if I have successfully paired them well together. I love colour and see it in a very distinct way, so finding shades and tones that are exactly what I want can be a lengthy process. I am also very influenced by nature and it can be tricky trying to recreate those palettes.
I toss and turn a lot about issues like this but overcoming the block requires ‘thought, time and gut instinct’. If you apply yourself and really think hard about that one problem, try and visualise it, you will work it out and find a solution. And always follow your gut. Jogging always helps, I can think and solve problems on a run.
CC: Do you have a certain designer or artist that inspires your work, and how?
A-M: There are so many fashion designers that influence me – I love Alaïa, his attention to detail was incredible and the way his designs mould to the body was unparalleled. They are sensual rather than sexy and sculpt like no other. I also loved Alexander McQueen and collected his earlier work – I felt he really understood the female body and appreciated the movement of it. I greatly admire Tom Ford for his creativity and eye for detail and I love the work of Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta, he pushes the boundaries of craftsmanship and has an amazing appreciation of colour and texture. I loved the late great Zaha Hadid – her architectural talent was one of a kind and her fluid, organic, bulbous designs are breathtakingly beautiful, for the most part ground breaking, and always graceful. We are so lucky to be able to enjoy her work.
CC: What is your brand’s DNA?
A-M: Discreet and Sophisticated. Swimwear without compromise.
CC: What is different about designing swimwear?
A-M: For a relatively small piece of cloth, it is more difficult to design than you might imagine. Working with 4-way stretch fabric is challenging, in that you have to work out how it relates to different parts of the body. Getting sizing and coverage correct can be a lengthy and tedious process.
CC: What sets AVA VERDÚ apart from other swimwear brands?
A-M: I feel as though AVA VERDÚ is designed to work with the body, to gently enhance, to sculpt and define but without that restricted feeling. It is designed to make the wearer feel exquisite – sensual, empowered, supported, confident, and they will look fantastic too.
CC: Any events or exciting news about the brand that we should know about?
A-M: The second collection is keeping me up at night...