When I meet Alicia Whillas, the Coachella-attending half of the swimwear brand Ward Whillas (cofounder Rosie Ward stayed behind in New York), what was meant to be a run-of-the-mill, kiss-kiss fashion-y meet-and-greet turns out to be not standard at all. For one, we're poolside at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. (The usual place is a conference room four feet from your desk you've begged a colleague to vacate.) For another, our conversation stretches into an hours-long epic spanning 12 years, Sydney and New York, and, of all things, high-frequency sound.
But it's not just the peculiar setting and the duration of my introduction that set the young brand apart—it's the construction of the suits Whillas brings with her. This is the thinking girl's bikini. The new Eres.
Like the wardrobe straight out of a Slim Aarons shoot, everything's in jewel tones and reversible and athletically, conscientiously cut. The rickrack "W" edges of the tape trimming stand for Ward Whillas. Sometimes, when something's this good, you don't have to ask why, but the lifelong friends and FIT grads did, and Olympic-level tech answered. Guys—the sculpting, quick-dry, chlorine-resistant (Italian-made!) fabric is bonded with ultrasonic welding. Noise.
Net-a-Porter and Opening Ceremony both carry the line, which is already enough of an endorsement, but take it from me: If a bikini can survive a weekend of all-day pool hangs *and* a Guns N' Roses concert (as a top LOL), it can definitely last any beach weekend. Trust.