If it seems, these days, that everyone is either idling on a boat or sprawled out in a striped cabana, Aperol spritz in hand, that’s because they are—with a glamorous Instagram post to prove it. Getaway travel is up, considerably. Net-a-porter reports that its customers take an average of 11 holidays a year; as a result, the online retailer has added a vacation shop to its offerings. The category is not seasonal, but permanent.
“People have started to realize the value of enjoying life,” says Tabula Rasa’s Emily Diamandis, who is among a niche group of fashion designers focusing on laid-back, boho clothes for the beach-bound. Diamandis, who was born in Great Britain and now lives in New York, grew up traveling—“My mum was always pulling me up the Himalayas,” she notes—and her three-year-old luxe lifestyle brand targets similarly adventurous and eccentric spirits. “I wasn’t interested in doing just another fashion label,” says the designer, whose fall collection of macramé jackets and knitted one-shoulder evening dresses is a tribute to the handiwork of Mongolia’s nomadic culture. “I wanted it to be more dynamic.”
Globetrotters love to wear their wanderlust on their sleeve, and, like Tabula Rasa, many of these resort-friendly brands have earned extra points for going local. Fashion insiders worked themselves into a frenzy last summer over the Ukrainian label Vita Kin’s vyshyvanka frocks, which are inspired by traditional embroidered garments. March 11, a similar line designed by a pair of New York–based Ukranians, is also working overtime to fulfill its hefty retail orders. “Women love these dresses, because they’re all they need on vacation,” cofounder Robert Mishchenko says. “You can wear them to the beach or a restaurant, and you always feel beautiful thanks to the amazing embroidery.”
Before launching St. Roche in 2014, the Los Angeles designer Sue Stemp and her husband, Paud Roche, researched manufacturers known for their ethical work practices; they found two family-run textile businesses in India, where they now develop their line of artisanal, eco-friendly tunics and flouncy tops that are perfectly suited to balmy climates. Meanwhile, after people started complimenting Pippa Holt on the dresses she picked up in Mexico a few years back, the Australian stylist, who lives in Dublin, decided to make a business out of it. Her recently launched line of colorful caftans, handwoven in a remote Mexican village, are loose and comfy—“Your husband is not going to think you’re a sexpot in them,” she warns—but decidedly chic. “They’re statement pieces,” says Holt, who wears them with a belt and bright espadrilles while in Mykonos and gold bangles when in Tulum.
But, as the Israeli designer Dodo Bar Or, who incorporates Middle Eastern motifs like the kaffiyeh into her slightly more rock ’n’ roll resort line, insists: These easygoing clothes need not be confined to tropical locales. “I see women in London and Milan wearing a caftan with a leather-strap bag and a jacket across their shoulders,” she says with a shrug. “They look cool and sophisticated—and completely carefree.”
Hair by Kayla Michele for Message In A Bottle Beauty at Streeters; Makeup by Susie Sobol at Julian Watson Agency. Set Design by Lauren Nikrooz at the Magnet Agency. models: Sabina Lobova at Elite; Tina Veshaguri at Trump Models. Photography Assistants: Alvin Wong, Matt Baffa. Fashion Assistant: Marie Arai. Hair Assistant: Jacob Rozenberg. Makeup Assistant: Marika Aoki. Set Design Assistants: Megan Kiantos, Perry Goodman. Special thanks to Red Hook Labs.