Laguna Beach local Amahlia Stevens talks about sunshine, sex appeal and why movie stars like Nicole Kidman don her sultry bikinis.
Written by Anna Curtis
This summer, feeling good in your skin means getting all the vitamin A your body needs. “A perfect bikini is the foundation of any summer wardrobe,” says Amahlia. “A woman can’t have too many black bikinis. They are super sexy in an understated way.”
We’re talking about Vitamin A swimsuits, of course, by designer Amahlia Stevens. And no one can resist these beauties. Maybe that’s because Stevens trots the globe for the finest fabrics and inspirations, which has led to the smashing success of her show-stopping line of bikinis and resort wear. Stevens first began designing suits for herself, then her friends and eventually a considerable base of jetsetting clientele.
There are summer essentials every woman needs. Here is where you’ll definitely find that beloved black swimsuit. “A woman can’t have too many black bikinis. They’re super sexy in an understated way.”
Vitamin A is like the LBD—“little black dress”—of swimsuits. The LBB, baby.
“When I first started, Brazilian cuts were in. But the bottoms were high-cut and the tops were too small to fit me properly. So I worked with an old-school custom swim shop in Laguna to create the bikini I envisioned.” And the “California Cut” was born. It was a cut no one had made yet, inspired by the lingerie she had seen in Milan. Beautiful and sleek, with “flat” seams for a smooth fit against the skin, yet the resiliency to handle the feisty California shore break. “It was low-slung around the hips, with a nice curve in the back to emphasize without exposing too much,” she recalls. “I also added tiny metal rings for flair.” Those were the fine details that would later become the trademark look of Vitamin A bikinis.
Trendsetting, elegant and with unparalleled fit, the suits perfectly define the bodies they’re wrapped around. “They’re smokin’ hot!” Stevens laughs. “But they are not just for supermodels. Before it’s adopted, I personally try every new Vitamin A style on myself and friends to ensure it fits REAL WOMEN.” And of course you can mix and match tops with bottoms to find your own custom fit.
You could say Vitamin A leads the swim world through its innovation and unique vision. It’s a mix of natural California beach beauty and chic international appeal. “I’m inspired by the art and architecture I see on my travels,” she says. “As well as the fabulous film and fashion icons of the ‘60s and ‘70s.” Yet, it’s the travels in her own backyard—the secret coves of Laguna—that propel her creative spirit. In turn, Vitamin A suits always retain a healthy dose of California attitude: a sunny smile, with sultry appeal. They’re unique, with shimmering hues that flatter the skin tone and precision cuts that accentuate the feminine figure like nothing else. “Form follows function,” she says. “A perfect bikini is the foundation of any summer wardrobe… It’s all about the fit.”
Stevens is even launching a Green Bikini® collection made from 100% recycled nylon. While designing for eco-guru Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, the green movement took root in her heart. Since then, she has worked to develop a deliciously “clean” swimwear fabric in the U.S. “We’re very proud of the fact that, while our competitors race offshore, Vitamin A is produced right here in sunny California,” Stevens says. “We hope to turn heads and redefine the old image of ‘green as granola’ into ‘green as gorgeous, sleek and eco-chic.’”
This year, the California sun shines across the Atlantic, and the label is popping up in fabulous boutiques throughout Europe. It’s no wonder why celebs like Brooklyn Decker and Nicole Kidman personally requested to be outfitted in Vitamin A on their newest film. Stevens has also dressed Chloe Sevigny on film shoots—even Jessica Alba, Demi Moore and Jennifer Aniston are fans. “I love creating designs and watching them come to life on my clients,” Stevens says. “That’s a never ending inspiration.”