AQUA DI LARA presented its 2014 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SWIM 2014 in Miami. Although Creative Director Reyhan Sofraci could not attend due to her late pregnancy term, her spirit and creativity shone through her unique and edgy pieces.

The models dazzled in MIA black cuffed stilettos and radiant jewel tones of amber, ruby, and aquamarine influenced by exotic locations and Reyhan’s personal travels. Colorful elements were paired with multiple Tarzan-goddess braids and subtle yet sultry makeup by Smashbox Cosmetics.

In 2012, AQUA DI LARA was separated into a two distinct labels: the soft, feminine White Label and the edgier Black Label. Before the show, Semant Jain interviewed the line’s Public Relations Manager, Caroline Couture. “We want two styles because we have an eclectic customer,” Caroline explained, “There are two styles you can wear anytime.” Both labels were presented, complementing each other yet offering their own distinct looks as they transitioned from White Label to Black Label.

The White Label transported its audience to tropical islands with lush, textured prints in a collage of turquoise, amethyst, and mandarin. Elegant designs and bold solids were featured in both bikinis and one pieces, paired with resort-style dresses and billowy silk cover-ups for a sun-soaked day in the sand.

Known for her ability to create flattering lines and silhouettes, Reyhan’s Black Label offered risky cutouts, barely-there bottoms, and form-fitting one pieces leaving just enough to the imagination. Blocks of hot pink and neon orange popped against a black canvas.

Although Reyhan was not in attendance at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, Caroline Couture gave Semant Jain an exclusive look into the design process and inspirations behind AQUA DI LARA’s 2014 collections.

When did Reyhan first realize she wanted to be a designer?

She was originally studying psychology. She was always trying on bathing suits and changing the looks, and after she became a designer. That’s how she started.

How has her style and process changed since designing her first pieces?

The brand last year, we created a two-label collection last year. So we have White Label and Black Label. White Label is more feminine, more classy. The Black Label is more edgy, sexy, color blocking. Two different styles to make sure every customer has one suit for them.

So often we see swimwear labels from warmer climates such as Miami and L.A. What sort of edge does Montreal (Quebec) provide when creating and marketing your designs?

Montreal is really eclectic. We have a multi-cultural city. We can see someone in the street and like their style. You have so many inspirations there. It’s really fun. With the weather we need to be creative. Because when it’s minus 20 degrees Celsius you still need to design swimsuits.

Does Montreal provide a unique source of inspiration?

Actually, Reyhan has traveled a lot in her life. She’s Turkish and she went to London to live there and then to Toronto in Canada and then she moved to Montreal. She travels a lot so she gets her inspiration from being everywhere.

Aqua Di Lara is known for designs and cuts that enhance the feminine figure. How is this incorporated this newest collection?

We always try to make sure every look, looks good on everyone. We have many patterns that cover what needs to be covered. We have a unique design that goes in the right place to make sure it looks good with every shape.

Who is the Aqua Di Lara woman? What type of women is your swimwear made for?

Actually we don’t have a special type of woman. Usually twenty to forty [years of age], that’s our customer range. But any woman that wants to look sexy, or edgy, or wants to go somewhere during the day and wear a suit, and at night wear another suit that’s from the same collection. Really any woman can wear Aqua di Lara.

How do you go about selecting your models?

We look at their walk. It needs to be classy but like they know what they’re doing. We want them to have attitude. We look at their eyes and their confidence, because it’s really important to have confidence as a woman.

Are there any specific characteristics you look for to represent your designs?

We want them to have the shape of a usual woman, so that our customers can identify themselves to the collection itself.

You mentioned the two distinct styles: The White Label and the Black Label. What is the inspiration behind each?

So the White Label, the looks are more like [a] beach day, resort. And Black Label is more like resort night, parties. So you’ll see with the collection today, one day you want to be edgy, you wear the Black Label. One day you want to be more feminine, you can wear the White Label.

How do the 2014 collections for each label differ from past years?

The fabrics. We’ve designed with some [new] fabrics. We try to always look different, new styles and patterns to make sure we don’t always do the same thing.

How does offering two separate styles help Aqua Di Lara stand out from other designers offering only one collection?

Usually they do one collection with the same theme. I don’t think any of our colleagues offer two collections. That’s what makes us stand out. We really think it’s important to have two different collections to suit everyone.

Does Reyhan have one favorite line of the two or are they both equal?

Both about equal, but she might have a slight preference for the Black Label. Because that’s edgy and she can go further with the design.

What was your favorite piece of the 2014 collection at the beginning of the design process and which was your favorite finalized piece? Are they one in the same?

It always changes. We try a design and then we do another one. We have an Africa Day kind of design. It’s a one piece. You’ll see it’s looking really nice. It’s [from] the black label. It’s a one piece monokini with tiger, beige and orange.

What are Aqua Di Lara’s plans for the future?

We’re looking for sportswear and lingerie. I think with bathing suits those are other styles that really look good.

Thanks a lot for the interview. 


interview and photography by SEMANT JAIN, PH.D.
fashion writer MARISA LYON