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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2015: Winners and Losers

Honestly speaking, sadly, this year's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim collections failed to tickle our fancy. Maybe the bar was set too high last year. Maybe we've come to the end of the road of conjuring up creative, new trends and stirring the pot of innovation in the swimwear department. Whatever it was, this year's MBFW Swim was seriously lacking some original ideas.

But it wasn't only the monotonous trends on repeat at the Raleigh that were worthy of some contagious yawns. From issues with fit (or lack thereof) on the runway to serious WTF moments off of it, Swim Week saw its share of low points.

But before you peg us for bitter pessimists, slamming the tried efforts of some otherwise talented designers and their teams, there were also bright moments of pride, outshining the ugly and demented.

Here are the highs and lows of MBFW Swim 2015.

See also: All our coverage from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2015

Clover Canyon's Ill-Fitted Suits

Category: Loser

Known for its unapologetically artful graphic prints, and sleek-fitted neoprenes, Clover Canyon was arguably the most anticipated show of this year's collections. Perhaps that hype contributed to its demise. In its first year of showing at Swim Week, the beachwear line had excellent high points by way of its signature trompe l'oeil digital imagery, telling a story of rich South American culture, and boxy, yet contemporary mesh cover-ups. But half the suits in its 2015 collection didn't fit properly; in other words, there was some major saggage up in there.

The loose skin of the swimsuits was displayed in many forms: the lower back, around the crotch, and of course, saggy bootie. Isn't this the reason why pre-show fittings take place? There were a few pieces that did display some impeccable fit, really showing off the brilliant and intelligent design patterns. We just wish every suit were created equally.

This Dog

Category: Winner and Loser

Swim Week's unofficial mascot was causing all sort of bipolar emotions this weekend. On the one hand, she does look fabulous, and she did catch the eye of just about every designer, buyer, blogger, and model on the scene - that's some real star power, people. And that tone of purple really brings out the pink in her salivating tongue.

On the other hand, this definitely has to cross the line on some animal cruelty level. We know PETA definitely would not be down with this, because this is animal testing at its most extreme. (Testing that animal's patience, of course.)

Mara Hoffman

Category: Winner

Just when we'd had enough of copycat prints and flutter tops already two-seasons old, there emerged a light at the end of the tunnel of same ol', same ol' swim collections. Mara Hoffman was the sigh of relief we needed to believe that this year's shows were not a complete waste of our time, and that our make-up meltdown due to some pretty daunting spells of humidity was not evaporated in vain.

For this year's collection, Hoffman was inspired by the tropic-likes of Guatemala, translated seamlessly through her signature prints and fringed cover-ups and jumpsuits. Our favorite piece involved the face and torso of a cheetah juxtaposed with said "Mara" prints on a one-piece, donning cutouts at the hips. And sure, the over-saturated likes of cut-outs, rash guard tops, and high-waisted bottoms were a blaze that night; but it was the designer's execution and styling that distinguished her collection from the rest of the wannabes this weekend. Well done, Mara.

The Existential Crisis at Maaji's Show

Category: Loser (but still entertaining)

Last year's Maaji show of pirate-inspired suits caused quite the frenzy, and was high on everyone's radar for shows to watch for this year. But we sure didn't expect a full-on mob scene outside the tent this year. We barely arrived on time to the Oasis' sandy tent, where the show would take place, and discovered a line that could rival that of a sold-out One Direction concert. And when the tent was finally stuffed to capacity, people outside began to lose their shit.

With the fire marshal present, there was no chance at sneaking a few extra bodies inside. More and more people approached the door of the tent, and more and more of them were sent away. We heard a woman raise her voice rabidly to one of the PR minions handling the event: "Don't you dare say no to me! I have four sponsors with me. All of whom have ticketed seats!" We could've sworn we saw a tear welling up in her eye.

When we did finally managed to scurry into the tent by some sort of miracle, we were met with models in flirty swimsuits, covered by jockey attire and garnished with like accessories, not having anything to do with the evening's collection. Can we say anti-climactic much?

Copycat Brands

Category: Loser

It was hard to make out which brand was which on the runways this year, due to overwhelming evidence that there was some major style-biting going on. This year, it seemed like everyone was copycatting everyone else's style. It's bad enough when you have every brand and designer making the same style monokini or high-waisted bottoms, probably equipped with a few cutouts (as the story goes). But it's worse when designers like Dolores Cortes are fully hijacking Hoffman's loud and ethnic signature print. Or how about when We Are Handsome totally cramped Clover Canyon's style with almost identical prints and cuts? What's up with that, guys?

The Many Shapes on the A.Z. Araujo Runway

Category: Winner

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Sometimes, seeing the same lanky bodies with minimal imperfections can be oh so boring. For this reason, Brazilian designer A.Z. Araujo added normal human beings, of all ages and sizes to the model medley. Oh, the humanity.

Now, we have to say we weren't crazy about the suits or the cheesy, leopard banana hammocks on the fellas for that matter. But the concept of the show was ingenious and raw; especially the highlight of the night, when a BBB (Big, black, beautiful) mama strutted the runway in a brown one-piece and a flowy, silk floral kimono. You better work.

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