I had the pleasure recently of speaking to Melissa Odabash one of the worlds most celebrated beach wear designers. Her beautiful creations have graced some of the most famous bodies on the planet on some of the world’s most exclusive beaches and now she is sharing her amazing swimwear designs with us mere mortals.
You decided to collaborate with Marisota which goes up to a UK 32. Why?
As my own collection is quite limited, working with Marisota gave me the opportunity to broaden my design range (goes up to a size 26) and making it more accessible and at a much better price.
What’s the difference in designing for curvier figures ?
I think it’s down to support, even small sized women, we all have the same issues no matter what size and we all need a bit of nip and tuck or support! Anything that will make our bodies look a bit better, especially in swimwear, when we are at our most vulnerable. While designing I tried to think of all the problem areas, contouring the waist line and pushing seamless finishes so it doesn’t dig in. A key to this is by placing accessories in the right area to draw eye and attention away from other parts
Any tips for those of us who hate showing our lumps and bumps on the beach?
My only advice is don’t worry, even top models have cellulite and issues – just grab a sarong, throw it around your bottom half and when you lay down take it off. Another tip is don’t think because you are larger that means you need more fabric, make sure the fit is snug and close to your body a lot of larger women go up a size so it makes them look bigger as the fabric is loose.
What inspired this collection ?
I tried to bring my trademark animal print into the collection with matching cover ups I love simple solid prints with small delicate accessories
Why fashion design as a career?
I always loved fashion as a kid I learned to sew at age 8 and my mother taught me everything about fashion. I started modelling at 18 and for me the next step was in designing, as I saw there was a huge gap in the swimwear business so started my own collection
And swimwear in particular?
I was a swimwear model so I modelled every type of bikini and swimsuit out there and at the time it was all about bold bright prints so I thought I’m going to do the opposite and design solid colours only.
Why Marisota, considering most high end designers shun ‘normal’ women?
It’s the best way for me to broaden my market I have such a small niche business and it’s fun to branch into different things. I love curvy women and I wish I had more curves on my body! Its actually very easy to design for women with curves as there bodies are more proportionate, shoulders to hips. One of my favourite Icons is Sofia Loren and I just love her curves!
What do you make of that i.e. shunning anything above a 12?
Oh please I grew up in the USA, the average size is 16 (UK 20) and it’s the norm! Unfortunately in today’s magazines, which I think is slowly changing, was showing only thin models. It’s just not attractive, ask any man, they love curves! It’s also much better to have a little excess weight for the wrinkles as long as you eat healthy exercise who cares about your shape it’s about a healthy lifestyle
Where are you based ?
I am based in London but I lived in Italy before, so my favourite place is Italy. I love the fashion, the men and especially the food!!
Who is your typical customer?
I don’t really have a typical customer I get have anyone from a A list celebrity, to a school teacher, to a mom and I sell in 48 countries. Different demands for different markets.
Any tips for SS13?
Stick to earth tones at the beginning of the holiday and as your tan progresses or apply self-tanner go for more of the summer colours red/tuq/pinks
What’s next ?
There is a lot going on! I am currently working on 5 different collaborations as well as opening in 2 new countries. I am super busy with my own 2014 collection and hopefully launching beach bag
collection followed by launching an Odabash foundation for charity!
Evolve’s motto is Be Proud…Be You. What makes you proud to be Melissa?
I don’t know – ask my mother! I get so much pleasure at doing charity work and that is what gives me satisfaction. That I can use my name to help others in need