I’m Lara Ventura and I’m the owner and founder of laraventura.co.uk. As well as housing my own exotic, luxury swim & lingerie label, the website features design-led and fashion orientated brands such as Maaji, Amulette and Jenna Leigh.
Since launching in November 2012 the company has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Grazia and Glamour magazine and is known for its distinctive Latin American inspired collections.
What inspired you to become a lingerie & swimwear designer?
I started as a knitwear designer and graduated from St. Martins in London, so my design journey started there. I then started doing custom made lingerie and swimwear for a few years prior to starting the site and I loved it so much, so decided to focus in this area.
Whilst doing this I learnt so much about what my customer was looking for in terms of shape, cut and fabrics. All together they wanted something more fashion based, edgy, with a more exotic cut. There was a gap in the market for a luxury Brazilian-inspired swimwear brand that was fashion-inspired yet still at a reasonable price point.
What makes your designs different from others?
There are many factors that differentiate Lara Ventura from other brands. Firstly our sexy but extremely flattering ‘Brazilian’ and ‘Latin’ cuts that we use on both swim and lingerie. Secondly our exquisite and distinctive high-fashion prints and clashing colourways. We don’t use any tacky details either, which you see in a lot of swimwear. We specialise in embroidered pieces and use only the highest quality luxury fabrics in digital prints. You can definitely spot a Lara Ventura bikini on the beach from afar!!!
Are there any celebrities wearing your designs and who are they?
We’ve had various celebrities and style icons wearing the brand such as Bip Ling, Suki Waterhouse and the girls from Made in Chelsea are massive fans and wear the brand regularly.
Do you wear your own products?
I wear all of my products and not just on the beach – but also in the gym pool and spa. I always get women coming up to me in these places and asking about my swimwear. I’ve recently been sporting some new SS14 pieces in Ibiza this summer too. What’s great about all Lara Ventura swimwear is that shape and fabric is so stylish and elegant that they can be easily styled with jewellery and beachwear for after-beach partying.
What’s your favourite swimwear brand (not your own!) and why?
There are a couple that I like for different reasons such as Vix, Agua Bendita and Maaji. I really like the balance of Vix as their products are quite sexy but very sophisticated with strong prints. Agua Bendita pieces are just exquisite, like pieces of art! The embroidery and beadwork is amazing and coming from a textile background myself, I can really appreciate the work that goes into just one swimsuit. I love a good print so Maaji wins on that front.
Do you think there’s enough swimwear choice for plus sizes?
I think there are some great brands such as Miss Mandalay- I’ve seen a lot of their products and they look both functional and fashionable.
What advice would to give to an aspiring swimwear designer?
Swimwear is a very specific product so I would have to say that you really need to know the market and know your customer. Find out as much as you can about your customers – what their favourite fashion brands are, where they holiday and who they go with etc. Also a technical knowledge of shape and fit is a must.
How do you get your inspirations for new collections?
I am always influenced by my travels and places I’ve been, people I’ve seen or just street style in general. I usually collect many different ideas, designs and prints that I like and try to blend them into the collection. This keeps things more eclectic and gives Lara Ventura the exotic aesthetic that it’s becoming known for.
Do you use paper and pencil to design your first draft or is it all done on computer?
It always start with paper, pencils and highlighters and then once finalised it goes onto the computer.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?
I would most definitely be in the industry, just in another area… Or working in interiors.
What are you working on right now?
My next swim collection and a new ‘limited edition’ collection, which is still a bit secret but launches quite soon… so watch this space!
What makes a great swimwear model?
A healthy, natural shape and body confidence. You can’t be shy when you’re half naked in front of a camera!!