Even the lower-key looks, like this ruffled, monotone bikini (another version of which showed in orange) came paired with eye-catching accessories and disco platform shoes. Red Carter's press materials cite New York City and Studio 54 as inspirations for this collection, and yes, we certainly do get a bit of a Donkey Show vibe from these looks. But let's be honest: When you think neon colors, oversized earrings, and throbbing club music, you don't think of New York. You think of Miami.
....And then the coneheads appeared. Red Carter's models gradually lost the bobbed wigs and replaced them with what appeared to be woven thatch funnels extending from their crowns at least a foot and a half -- with wisps of quite obviously fake hair trailing from the pointy ends. The cones themselves looked absurd, and in some cases, blonde models wore cones with dark brown hair sprouting from the ends, compounding the ridiculousness. The effect was to detract from the swimwear itself -- and that's a shame, because its patterns managed to blend Art Deco and American Indian patterns in a unique, flattering way.
Aside from a yellow, black, and white color story that really didn't work for us, Red Carter's collection ranked among the most exciting swimwear we'd seen thus far. Maybe we were drinking the Kool-Aid, but we'd even gotten over our conehead-related shock and awe. But then, in a move that took us from Miami to Rio de Janeiro, the final looks came down the runway framed by feathery arcs. The crowd, once again, went wild with cheers.
Was it over the top? Absolutely. In fact, the feathers on the final look looked more suited for a Muppet than a model. But after several days of waiting in long lines, suffering through humidity, and enduring snooty, unsmiling glances from fashion snobs, Red Carter's show felt like a fever breaking. The humidity had subsided, the energy was high, and everyone from the audience to the models to the designer himself came ready to have a damned good time, at long last.
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