Tuesday, August 11, 2009



July 23rd, 2009

Words, Judith Ecochard,
Images, Carve Design and J. Ecochard

There’s a lot about CARVE DESIGNS to love. As a lifestyle brand we’ve been following for our third take now, we think the focused collection for S/S 2010 is indicative of the smart approach to merchandising the company has taken.

It was def reflected in the well laid out OR booth where the separates were grouped by color/prints …and the mix/match swimsuits easily interchangeable.

Naturally, as a brand sprung from surfing gals, the swimwear got major play for S/S 2010…with an expanded collection for active types (Twist and Rincon Ruched tankinis, T-straps, maillots/one pieces like the Laguna full piece) and fuller coverage, high and low rise bottoms that don’t grab at the hips but hold the butt---including the best selling Rodeo Reversible and Rincon Ruched bottoms… and an adorable skirt – the Ibiza bottom with a side tied attached skirt.

There are also sexier options that manage to cover-up the bits…triangle tops (the adjustable strapped Cali convertible, La Paz) and the Maui Halter top with a supportive one-inch band under cups…plus ‘traditional’ bottoms like the low rise, low cut Bali with flirty side ties Our fav is the Bondi Reversible top with an adjustable tie and the matching bottoms…a low rise, medium cut offering just enough material, but still HOT.

All swimwear is made from premium 4-way stretch that recovers/retains shape, and resists the nasty effects of the sun and chlorine…AND heavy gauge rubber so the swimsuit stays where it should. Of course active types think of this stuff…and these necessary attributes are not found in the cheaper chain store brands. We know as we review those too.

Color and prints are terrific…from soft sunny pastels (rose, sorbet, aqua, darker hues (grape, black, java,) to mod retro patterns like multi-shade polka dots and zig-zags, and nature themes like hibiscus and pamilla flowers, With details like contrast piping and well sewn-in linings, Carve Designs has all the high end flourishes at reasonable price points.

What we wear while surfing, always…the SPF 50+ Rash Guards---the long sleeve one with a high neck (Sunblocker), though there are half and sleeveless versions. Now if only we rode as well as our outfit looked.


S/S 2010 casual separates adhere to Carve Designs MO of breezy warm weather pieces that are interchangeable.

Cover-ups, board shorts, hoodies, flirty frocks and fun tees come in many styles, lengths, and fabrics…including organic.

Highlights we saw the Seaside Skirt in the same 6.7 oz 4-way stretch tricot fabric as the swimwear. Sheer cover-ups-the empire waist, v-neck Tahitian Tunic, and Sunshine (org. cotton/rayon) with a cool burnt out Hibiscus pattern are great for the beach when barefoot- and great for a night out when paired with sandals.

Shorts come in various lengths and patterns with roomier leg fits (Beachcomber, Pipeline) for movement—and more straight silhouettes (Paddler, Freestyle).

Reversibles are like getting a two for one---.and CD has two winners ---a wrap Leilani Skirt and Short -with 4-inch inseam- and the 12-inch inseam Turtle Bay short. Eco plus, they’re made from 100% recycled polyester.

The snuggly Hideaway Hoodie with Kangaroo front pockets and the Ocean Beach series (skirt, hoodie, capris) are made from super soft organic cotton/french terry with 8% lycra for shape.

Dressier options bump up California formal options. The organic cotton Copacabana with a tank styling top and dropped waist is office friendly, as is the cute cinched Sunshine and Santa Barbara reverse pleat v-neck tees.

The Paris Collection is also new…made of stretchy 10 oz Pima Jersey knit. We liked the horizontal strips ---in a Brigitte Bardot worthy ½ Sleeve T with a wide scoop neck and a v-neck, A line cut dress with flutter style sleeves- and a figure enhancing Empire waist. We actually are reminded of Perry Ellis when that legendary designer actually designed his iconic American fashion label.

We think Carve Designs moves forward with this collection, building on Fall 2009’s wearable apparel…(available now). A lifestyle to wish for maybe, but apparel that gets us going in the right direction.