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Travel-Inspired Fashion Takes Flight with Natural Materials and Luxury Trims

The flirty linen dress. The straw hat. The woven handbag and the espadrille wraps. The highly stylized uniform of the contemporary female traveler is a far cry from the euro comfort shoes and backpacks touted by Fodors as traveling essentials just years ago. And as outdated guide books give way to updated apps and travel becomes more experiential in off-the-grid locales, consumers are feeling freer to dress in fashion that makes them feel special and on trend.

Destination, a new area at Pre-Coterie in New York City last week, encapsulated fashion’s escapist mood. The showcase presented a curation of global women’s ready-to-wear, resort, swim and accessories brands that focus on warm-weather travel lifestyle. “We recognize that the resort calendar has shifted and the interest in resort and swimwear has rapidly increased,” said Danielle Licata, president of Coterie and East Coast women’s. “By creating Destination Coterie, we are answering the need for many contemporary brands to showcase their collections to the U.S. market.”

And the collections presented at Destination underscored how the female traveler not only yearns to see the world, but also wants to dress the part. Brands emphasized garments made with sustainable fabrics, accessories made by artisans and “slow fashion” as a means to appeal to the wanderlust in consumers.

Ampersand Heart, a New York-based brand inspired by folk and workwear, presented its collection of maxi dresses, puff-sleeve tops and jumpsuits dyed with natural indigo. Using denim in unconventional ways is a signature of Ampersand Heart. For this season, the brand combined denim and chambray with white linen, cotton eyelet, lightweight mesh and tie-dye. Vintage crystal buttons added a luxury touch to the limited-run collection. For accessories, Ampersand Heart turned to artisans in Brazil to craft straw bags and totes. Meanwhile, the shells used to embellish the bags were sourced from the Hamptons.

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Ampersand Heart
Ampersand Heart Ampersand Heart

Greek swimwear brand Maritimum made its U.S. debut with a romantic collection of one-piece and two-piece suits made with Italian Lycra in powder blue, rose and off-white. Hand embroidery, ruffles and bows adorned the brand’s signature V-necklines, as well as 24-karat plated hardware. Mesh inserts introduced a lingerie element to swim, while cap sleeve swim tops—a trend that was seen across the show—offered a flirty, vintage look. Maritimum also brought its first collection of silk and linen dresses and viscose caftan dresses suitable for both poolside soirees and casual beach days.

Maritimum Maritimum

Maliluha Swimwear from Italy showcased its line of minimalist suits made with Econyl regenerated nylon. The brand is best known for youthful dance-inspired silhouettes, including long-sleeve one-pieces with cut-outs or front zippers, and its best-selling halter one-piece with a belt. A sophisticated color palette of moss green, terra cotta, pale pink, white and black enhanced the collection’s dance mood. The suits were subtly accented with contrasting color piping along ruffles and tortoise shell trims from Turkey.

Maliluha Swimwear
Maliluha Swimwear Maliluha Swimwear

London-based Maraina honed a handmade luxury resort wear aesthetic with raw silk caftans and kimonos made by female artisans in Madagascar. The effortless styles were offered in an earthy color palette, embellished with elegant embroidery. The brand takes pride in its slow manufacturing roots, noting that its raffia bags take three days to make and hats up to seven days.

Maraina Maraina

Natural materials were the base of most accessory collections. Brazil-based handbag designer Serpui juxtaposed classic wicker handbags with wicker panda bear-shaped clutches and citrus-shaped bags. Tiered straw bags and flamingo motifs added a tropical feeling to the collection, while accents of transparent PVC with a holographic coating added Gen Z vibes to the woven wrist candy. And Brazilian shoe designer Paula Torres presented her resort collection. The handcrafted pieces included woven raffia mules with carved heels, espadrille slides with tassel ornamentation and slides covered with tropical print fabrics and raffia-wrapped buckles.