It’s summer and whether one is ready or not, holiday season is here and many of us are in the state of panic about what to wear on the beach. Some of us, lucky goddesses, look amazing in anything-have you seen this summer’s H&M swimwear campaign?- but what if you don’t have a supermodels body, yet want to look beautiful on the beach? After all, we women, come in all shapes and sizes…..
I have professed love for KeyLeaf & Missoni swimwear before, but they are not cheap and somehow many other, less expensive brands don’t rock my body, especially as I have a swimmer’s body physic-broad shoulders and narrow hips-so often, when I try bikinis or swimsuits in a store, they just don’t fit me. So what can a girl do, if she doesn’t have the swimwear designer talent? Well, you are in luck my friends, because a helping hand is here and it comes courtesy of Ursula Lake and her swimwear brand called Violet Lake.
Ursula started her brand over year ago and she was driven by frustration to find good quality, well-fitting swimwear that didn’t require a girl to take out a mortgage. A great incentive from which we can all benefit now.
Last year my favourite bikini top fell apart after a few happy beach years so when I came across Ursula’s site I was very happy to see so much choice-to start with I have ordered myself two bikini tops in styles called Domino and Plenty. I simply loved Domino style but unfortunately the fit wasn’t perfect on me, so I replaced it with another Plenty-now have them in Damson and Navy and am currently eyeing a Bibi swimsuit and one of bikini combinations (Gallore top & Blush bottom) in geranium, which accentuates tanned skin beautifully-no wonder it often sells out .
In addition to great colours and eye-watering amount of combinations, the fabric looks and feels luxurious and I like the fact that I can place an order, which arrives very promptly & nicely packaged in tissue paper, and if something doesn’t fit, you can return the item and another choice gets sent to to you. Another distinct detail is that you tie your bikini tops at the back, so the fit can get adjusted easily and really accentuate your good points & offer support in all the right places. There is also an element of luxury in the fact that you can try swimwear in your own home, in daylight and in front of a good mirror, instead of getting depressed in the crammed and badly lit changing room, be it in Topshop or Harrods. As an additional incentive, just read a Q & A with Ursula below .)
Questions and Answers with Ursula Lake of Violet Lake swimwear brand
GAP: What’s your professional background?
Ursula Lake: I have been a Fashion Editor for twelve years, I was the Fashion Editor for the Sunday Telegraph ‘Stella Magazine’ for seven years and continue to work as a Contributing Editor to Several International Publications. I also style celebrities and working on advertising campaigns for numerous brands.
GAP: How did you get into fashion and why swimwear in particular-a saturated, tricky market…?
Ursula Lake: My own swim-wear line seemed like a good next step! It is a saturated market, but I felt I had a unique idea that catered to real women of all sizes, ages and skin colours. There is lots of competition but no one else is as flexible with such a huge range of colour, styles and sizes!
GAP: How involved are you in design, fabric selection etc.? How big is your support team at the moment?
Ursula Lake: We are still a very small company, we are only just over a year old. I would rather do things slowly and surely and accurately than make huge mistakes, so with this in mind, I have a very small team of myself, my assistant and my husband (who does all the number crunching!). I remain very, very close to the brand and am very hands on, answering all of the questions customers have about sizes and styles personally. I design the different shapes, working with a small team in my factory who bring my ideas to life. We use a very luxurious and expensive fabric from Italy which we feel is the best fabric out there, and each season I add some new colours and shapes to the collection.
GAP: What makes Violet Lake different from other swimwear brands?
Ursula Lake: As a brand, we are all about flexibility and choice. We have four styles of tops and four styles of bottoms, they are available in ten colours and fives sizes, we sell items individually. This way you have complete control over how you wear your bikini. You can buy different sized tops and bottoms, or different coloured tops and bottoms, there is no set top to go with any given bottom which allows you to have the ultimate control and choice in what you wear.
GAP: How did you come up with styles and which is the most popular?
Ursula Lake: I actually came up with all the original styles while on holiday in India! So far we haven’t had one style that particularly out-performed another, as women come in all shapes and sizes, so there is something out there for everyone, but we did get a surge in sales when Gwyneth Paltrow was photographed in our Plenty top and Blush bottoms!
GAP: What inspires you professionally?Ursula Lake: I am very much inspired by fine art and photography and try to visit as many exhibitions as I can, wherever I am. I had a great time in MOMA recently looking at the Matisse, Picasso and Rothko paintings, as the use of colour is really relevant to my brand and the strong colours that we use in the collection. I also LOVE to travel and that is very inspiring too.
GAP: Any tips in looking good in Violet Lake swimwear?
Ursula Lake: I do feel strongly that women give themselves too hard of a time on the beach, I do feel its important that you have fun and relax on a holiday, so I hope that my bikinis and swimsuits give women that confidence. For me personally, I always start to do a lot of body brushing the month before I reveal myself on the beach, as I find that helps with skin tone. I have also been known to do a ‘Raw Fairies’ 5 day detox before a holiday, just to have a cleanse and maybe drop a few pounds before I go!
GAP: What’s the best way to look about your swimsuits/bikinis and make sure they last ?
Ursula Lake: Always rinse your swimwear out in fresh water, particularly after being in the swimming pool! Be extra vigilant of that after a jacuzzi or spa, as the chemicals in the water there can be particularly damaging. Also try, when possible, to not get too much suncream on your swimsuit too, as that can affect the fibres!