Bikini Woman Wonder

According to the swimwear designer Mel, Elle Macpherson is the ultimate Bikini Woman. “Okay, she is an amazon, but she gets it right every time. She always does the right colours; she gets the look spot-on.”
You know Bikini Woman. You’ve seen her on the beaches of St Barts and St Tropez, and lounging on yachts in the background of all those paparazzi shots. She has brushed past you at the Blue Marlin, all swirling latest designs of dresses, glistening skin and perfectly tousled Medusa locks. Her man is the one brokering deals on his BlackBerry from his sun lounger, and she smells of cocoa butter and cash. You get the impression that this exotic creature spends at least six months of the year in swimwear, but, says Odabash, there is a Bikini Woman in all of us, just waiting for the perfect moment to bust out a jewelled couture monokini (like the one she dressed Cheryl Cole in for her “comeback” holiday with Ashley last year).

Bikini or Lingerie Video

You know Bikini Woman. You’ve seen her on the beaches of St Barts and St Tropez, and lounging on yachts in the background of all those paparazzi shots But while she may embody all the trappings of a life of leisure (not to mention a life of pleasure), being a Bikini Woman is no stroll around the block. “Don’t think for a minute that Elle Macpherson isn't working out seven days a week.
Don’t think that she isn’t eating healthily every day. It’s a lifestyle, a discipline,” says Mel, a former leading lingerie model herself, with 15 years’ experience of making suits for the international jet set. The reality is that no Bikini Woman looks this hot on the beach without putting in some serious prep time and effort — be it in the gym, the spa or when planning her extensive bikini wardrobe.
First, there are the outfits. At the Heidi Klein boutique in Chelsea, the manager, Laura Thirtle, explained:
“The women who are going away with their husbands on business — well, it’s a holiday for them — are some of our best customers. They need to be decked out with everything. Because it’s not just about the suits. A woman going away for a week will typically buy four or five swimsuits, and then there are the cover-ups, the jewellery, the sunglasses — they want to be OUTfitted.”
Thirtle says when she first started in the bikini business “people would just throw on a pair of shorts over their suit. But it’s different now. People are actually accessorising and getting dressed up for the beach”. As Odabash (who holidayed with Elton John and the Le Bon clan in the south of France last summer) puts it: “The restaurants in St Tropez are like one big fashion show: it’s all about the bikini, the matching kaftan, the heels. Although, please, make it a wedge.” Odabash prefers a flat, however — when she recently showed her SS11 collection at the W hotel in South Beach, Miami, her models strutted down the catwalk in gold leather high-rise gladiator sandals, like mini Wonder Women. She says her first bikini muse was her mother. “She was very glam, always in leopard print and Gucci. She used to go on holiday with my father every year and come back so tanned. I was always, like, wow.”
Really working the Bikini Woman look (see Britain’s own premier BW, Kelly Brook) is about channelling every last ounce of your sex appeal, and as much as the right bikini can help you tap into the confidence to do that, the bod beneath has to be up to scratch. Heidi Klein’s Notting Hill outpost, all sand-washed floorboards and so-soft lighting, is your last-stop pre-holiday shop for such needs, with an on-site spa offering everything from spray tans to pedicures, waxing and massage. Odabash spells out what else she believes it takes: “Twenty minutes’ exercise every day, jogging or on a bike, push-ups on your bathroom floor every morning, and always eating organic.” But never fear, BW has plenty of tricks up her kaftan (see box) to help us mere mortals cheat our way through the summer.