It may officially (finally!) be summer, but that's not keeping Angelenos from seeking stylish swimwear year-round. And when it comes to bikinis that actually stay put, adventurous beach babes know how equally teeny tiny the options are in the market.
Enter GIGI C Bikinis, a just-launched LA label founded by daughter/mother design duo Gigi and Tina Caruso. (And let's get this out of the way: Yes, LA real estate tycoon Rick Caruso is Gigi's dad/Tina's husband.) On the hunt for pieces tailored for both water sports and poolside lounging, Gigi decided to create her own line of wardrobe malfunction-free separates and one-pieces.
Ranging from $75 to $130 for bottoms, $100 to $140 for tops, and $200 to $225 for one-pieces and monokinis, the direct-to-consumer brand is entirely made in SoCal out of luxe European fabrics. Pieces like wear-it-your-way Ella top can be wrapped to suit your style, while the Tessa halter top features sexy cut-outs and scuba fabric — perfect for those jet ski excursions or with a kimono and denim shorts. (We're looking at you, Gigi H.)
We chatted with Gigi to find out how her brand was born, why manufacturing in LA was important to her, where the label will be popping up in LA, and more. Read on below, then shop the latest collection online here.
What was the "a-ha" moment that sparked the idea for the brand?
I started cutting up some of my old suits and gluing them together, one of the first designs I ever thought of was the Gabriella top. When I started putting together designs the suits were very sleek and elegant but had a sexy feel to them as well, which is what the idea of the brand is. I wanted to see something new on the market that I have never seen before.
Who or what inspires your designs?
I have grown up by the beach [and playing] water sports. I've always tried to find the perfect sporty-but-sexy bikini with an elegant look that would stay on while swimming in the water but will also be eye turning at the beach. I could never find this swimsuit so I thought, "Why not design and bring to life the perfect bikini?"
What inspired you to pursue a direct-to-consumer business model?
I decided to pursue a direct-to-consumer business model so in the beginning I could have full control of my business and really see what works and what doesn't work. Being a direct-to-consumer business you have the opportunity to really drive the customer you want to your website. A big perk of selling through my own e-commerce store is being able to connect with the customer directly and see from my phone what is selling and where they are clicking from.
Why was it important for you to manufacture in LA?
Something really important to me in this business is having styles in my brand that are current, if I am waiting a month to get new styles from across the globe by the time we sell it online it may not be "in" anymore. Making my suits locally allows a quick turn around time for new silhouettes. A main draw to producing in Los Angeles is being able to see the process and my designs come to life.
Now that summer is officially coming, which swimsuits will you be wearing on repeat and why?
This summer I will be wearing GIGI C everywhere I go! The Gianna one-piece is a top seller that I will be wearing on repeat all summer long! One of my favorite suits is the Ella top. You can wear this top over 15 different ways! I love this top because it gives the buyer the opportunity to be creative and style themselves.
Any plans to make the brand shoppable IRL?
GIGI C bikinis does have a plan to have a pop-up shop at The Grove in Los Angeles next