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30 Dec

Naturally, This L.A.-Based Swimsuit Designer’s Office Style Is Beach-Ready

Photo: Marysia Reeves

When L.A.-based swimsuit designer Marysia Reeves admits she often wears pieces from her Marysia Swim line to work, you’re not entirely surprised. Having relocated her successful line from New York to Los Angeles in 2014, picking up fans like Lupita Nyong’o along the way, no doubt the designer has absorbed the laissez-faire beach vibes of her adopted city. Still, Reeves assures that when it comes to herself she approaches 9-to-5 dressing in an elevated, and certainly layered, way. Pairing her scallop-hemmed maillot with a pair of Vetements jeans, for example, Reeves stands out among her flip-flops-and-shorts-wearing neighbors. And while the Poland-born, Delaware-raised former surfer may be right at home in the water, Reeves has also broadened the line’s range to include appealing off-duty resortwear. She’s also currently working on the launch of her first boutique.

Here, the designer tells us how the exacting standards she learned at ballet school in Warsaw, Poland, still keep her on her toes, how she got into swimwear, and what she always packs for her trips.

Photo: Marysia Reeves
Photo: Marysia Reeves
Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Courtesy of rstyle.me (2); Courtesy of lucyfolk.com; Courtesy of rstyle.me (2)
Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Courtesy of rstyle.me (2); Courtesy of lucyfolk.com; Courtesy of rstyle.me (2)

Marysia Emerald Bay dress, $440, marysia.com; Federica Moretti Panama straw hat, $275, matchesfashion.com; Lucy Folk rock formation earrings, $325, lucyfolk.com; Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Embrace, $56, net-a-porter.com; Valentino Love Latch flats, $795, barneys.com

This Former Ballerina’s Style Has Always Been On Point
When I was growing up, my mom was very stylish. There was only one fancy store in our city and my mom would go if she got a bonus to treat herself. My mom always made sure I had pretty clothes and I remember when I was little she would dress me in head-to-toe pink. I think my mom and aunt were my style inspirations. My dad’s sister is an artist and her house was beautiful. She always dressed well. When I started ballet school in Warsaw at age 10, I saw lots of stylish women around in the city and in the halls too. Women were always very put together. I think it just was always inspirational looking at them.

Style Culture Shock
My parents immigrated to the United States from Poland when I was a teenager. At first we lived in this small town, Seaford, Delaware. It was kind of a culture shock. I was like, “Why do people dress in sweatpants to go to school? Or pajamas?” They would always ask me, “Why are you so dressed up? Are you going somewhere after school?” and I was like, “No, I’m going to school. What do you mean? Why are you in pajamas?” At the beginning of our move, my mom and I would shop a lot. My parents had left everything they had in Poland and came with two suitcases and started over here. We lived across the street from these resale and thrift shops, and they really had the most beautiful pieces. Everyone always asked us, “Where do you shop?” My mom still has really good thrift-shop skills. Whenever I go home I still check those stores out because there are gems in there that people are giving away.

Photo: Marysia Reeves
Photo: Marysia Reeves
Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Courtesy of rstyle.me; Courtesy of modaoperandi.com; Courtesy of celine.com; Courtesy of rstyle.me; Courtesy of lipstickqueen.com
Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Courtesy of rstyle.me; Courtesy of modaoperandi.com; Courtesy of celine.com; Courtesy of rstyle.me; Courtesy of lipstickqueen.com

ATM ribbed long-sleeved bodysuit, $195, intermixonline.com; Céline small croissant shoulder bag, $2,000, celine.com; Jonathan Simkhai deep rib trumpet skirt, $375, modaoperandi.com; Golden Goose Superstar sneakers, $425, shopbop.com; Lipstick Queen Hello Sailor Lipstick, $25, lipstickqueen.com

From the Barre to the Beach
When I moved to Delaware I tried to go to one ballet class but I felt like I could teach it. I thought, “Okay, that’s enough of ballet.” My brothers were both lifeguards at beaches on the Baltic Sea when I was young, and I wanted to be like them. So in Delaware I joined a swim team and I started doing more water sports. When my parents moved to Rehoboth Beach I became a lifeguard at the beach and at the pool. I think that was the transition toward the water. Still, in high school everybody always commented that I dressed well and I thought, “Oh, maybe I am good at this.” But I went to college for physical therapy and I was supposed to go to grad school for it too, but knew it wasn’t right for me. A friend of mine from Delaware went to FIDM [Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising] in L.A. and encouraged me to go. Although I had never taken an art class in my life, I applied and got in!

Trading Leotards For Bathing Suits
After school I got an internship with Milly in New York, but at the same time I became pregnant, so that kind of threw things for a loop. Still, I was inspired, and afterwards I went back to Charleston, had my baby, and started Marysia Swim when my daughter was 6 months old. I had this first collection that I tried to sell by myself and I got a couple of stores, but then the second collection I was really inspired to show on the runway and I won Charleston Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Competition in 2009. I went to Miami Fashion Week, the biggest tradeshow for swimwear, but I feel like the line didn’t really start getting noticed until we moved to New York. After a few years, my husband started helping me and we decided to take it to another level. 2011 is when Shopbop picked us up. In April 2014 we moved back to L.A. and all of a sudden our sales started going crazy on the website. We turned an extra bedroom into our office. But soon it wasn’t enough room, so we had to get a real office. When we moved it all started growing at a rapid pace, and we hired our first employee two years ago in February.

L.A. Cool With an Elevated Twist
I get more dressed up than the average person around me. In L.A. everyone has really good skin and really good hair, and in general the style here is a lot more relaxed than in New York. But I still love to wear my designer pieces. I love Phoebe Philo and now that I can afford it a little bit more I splurge on the occasional Céline piece. The Row is also a great place to go for basics. I was talking to our decorator here and she said, “Oh, yeah, you always look really casual but you have this like funky addition—a surprise element. You wear one big earring or a cool bag.” We bought a house in Venice in June, but the closet space is kind of small, so I had to get rid of a lot of things. I’m just really refining my wardrobe and keeping the best things and wearing them a lot more. Before, when I had nice pieces I would just want to save them for some special occasion and not wear them every day, but now I am just wearing all my designer pieces casually. I’ll wear a Céline top with jeans or over my Pilates leotard.

Styling With Her Own Designs
I’m more inspired to wear my own resortwear to fit my lifestyle. The summer 2017 collection has a lot of silk slips and things like that that really you can wear all the time. It’s not just for the beach. I’ll be wearing my Vetements jeans and I love wearing my one-piece swimsuits with high-waisted skirts—especially in the summer when it’s really nice outside. I’ll wear a leather jacket on top of my swimsuit and I wear them more like bodysuits mostly with skirts or high-waisted pants.

Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Courtesy of rstyle.me (2); Courtesy of janepopejewelry.com; Courtesy of cartier.com; Courtesy of celine.com
Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Courtesy of rstyle.me (2); Courtesy of janepopejewelry.com; Courtesy of cartier.com; Courtesy of celine.com
Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Courtesy of rstyle.me (2); Courtesy of lucyfolk.com; Courtesy of rstyle.me (2)
Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Courtesy of rstyle.me (2); Courtesy of lucyfolk.com; Courtesy of rstyle.me (2)

Marysia Venice maillot, $350, marysiaswim.com; Jane Pope Jewelry JPJ frond earrings, $1,530, janepopejewelry.com; Dolce & Gabbana floral-print cotton and silk-blend skirt, $837, net-a-porter.com; Cartier Love bracelet, $6,300, cartier.com; Céline essential V-neck pumps in aubergine patent calfskin, $740, celine.com

A Swimsuit Designer Loves Her Sandals
I have a favorite Céline pair of sandals and I wish I’d gotten two pairs. I wear them so much to the beach that they’re really not looking so fresh. I have a strappy Saint Laurent pair that I wear a lot. I love Charlotte Olympia and have some espadrilles from her that have a criss-cross ankle strap. I feel like it’s really hard to find them but I always get them in Miami at The Webster. I do a lot of shopping at The Webster and the Neiman Marcus there. The Saks at Bal Harbour has special resort pieces that you can’t find anywhere else. I just got some really cool Manolo Blahnik sandals with multicolor fringe. They were on sale, so I finally got them because I couldn’t justify spending $1,200 on a wild pair of shoes.

Her Packing Secret Is All About Resortwear
It’s so much fun to shop on a vacation. You find things that you don’t see in your normal surroundings. For the flight I usually dress comfortably. I wear a Sacai sweatshirt that’s black with these side zippers and bell sleeves, and doesn’t look like a sweatshirt. I try to find pieces like that: that I can wear all day and not feel like I’m in like yoga clothes. I have a maillot that’s my go-to: a one-piece that cuts a low V in the front and has a peplum. I wear my high-necked Mott one-piece with a skirt and pants or my Palm Springs maillot with a scoop neck. I love the new skirts in the collection and the new pants too. I bring comfortable sandals and some heels and I have a really cute wicker basket that I love. I usually put it inside my bigger bag with my personal items. I bring a hat or two on my head so it doesn’t get messed up in the suitcase, and I always leave room in my suitcase for some things to come back with. We just went to Sydney and I fell in love with Lucy Folk’s jewelry. She just opened her PLAYA by Lucy Folk shop in Bondi and she stocks Marysia too!

From Vogue

Hannah Kim
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