For ANK by Mirla Sabino's Swimwear 2013 collection, the biggest strength of ANK’s Voyage line was its patterns—they created a veritable rainbow along the runway. Bright solids, ethereal pastels, and less subdued ikat prints followed her standout patterns: painterly, watercolor-like swashes of fabric that appeared to be plucked directly from nature. Ruched-bottoms and bandeaus, along with designer Mirla Sabino’s elegant maxi cover-ups, were a frequent sight, but her one-pieces were perhaps the strongest parts of the show; their unique silhouettes were simultaneously sexy and sturdy enough for non-models. Our favorite piece, of course, was one of them: a deceptively simple, forest-green basic, with a deep V front and low-cut back. As for the aforementioned wildlife-inspired prints, Sabino explained them to us after the show, along with the actual voyage that prompted the Voyage collection.
MONICA USZEROWICZ - The patterns in this show looked almost psychedelic, and very painterly. Where did you get the original idea for the patterns like this?
MIRLA SABINO - The patterns came from my original inspiration for the collection. After many years of living in Miami, I moved back to Brazil. Arriving there, I just got the exuberance of colors and became inspired by the flora and fauna. But, because of my background in Miami, I wanted to do something unique—so you can see feathers in a print that you can barely describe. Then there is a mix of the sky and palm trees in one of the green prints, and a colorful rain that I did in red.
MU - So you were inspired by the natural environment of Brazil.
MS - Yes, that was one of the main inspirations.
MU - You had a lot of very unique silhouettes, but they still look sturdy.
MS - These are really functional. I always try to hear from my customers and they are always telling me, “Bring me a sexy suit that I can wear with confidence,” and that’s what I always try to do.
MU - You were living here and then you moved back home after many years. Has your design process changed?
MS - I do have a strong background from Miami, but Brazil really contaminated me! It was totally different designing this collection [compared to the last one], especially because, in the process of moving, I was opening boxes, and I found old memories. I put those memories into my new creations. It was a mix of the tropics—traveling from Miami to Brazil, stopping in different islands—and history.
MU - That’s really beautiful. Slightly off-topic—what’s the social improvement project that your sale proceeds go to?
MS - It’s called the Developing Minds Foundation. It’s a foundation that basically works right now in Colombia and Brazil. In the slums and favelas in Brazil, they create schools to help the children who don’t have the opportunity to have an education and a job.