La Belle Rebelle: Sweets, Dots and Rock ‘n’ Roll

A hurricane is brewing in Miami. Her name is Fab Silberstein, and she is set to take the beachwear industry by storm with her line, La Belle Rebelle. An apt name for a label that combines the sweet, decorous charms of retro swimwear with explosive prints and rock ‘n’ roll attitude. The tagline for the brand is “What Swimwear Should Be” – we wholeheartedly agree. Silberstein has an energy and passion about her work that is contagious; we just had to bottle it up somehow, so we sat down with the Uruguayan designer to dish on style muses, vintage and – who else? – The Stones.

You bring a more youthful perspective to swimwear. How would you describe this energy?

Well, to be honest, I am not capable of designing something I wouldn’t wear myself. That’s kind of a flaw, I guess; but at the same time is what makes me feel so passionate about my product. I guess my own young spirit translates into the garments and the overall aesthetics of the brand.

What kinds of things are you inspired by?

I have this idea of what the La Belle Rebelle woman is, and I design from that concept. I make up stories and day-dream about her life and the beauty that surrounds her. For this collection, I fantasized about what the Rolling Stones’ girlfriends wore when they were in exile at the South of France in the Nellcôte mansion… And that’s what came out of it.

What is your fashion background?

All I ever did before designing was merchandising and styling. I studied merchandising in Argentina and Miami but never really got a formal design education. So I guess I’m self-taught when it comes to that!

Why did you decide to get into swimwear?

I came to a point in life where I was no longer satisfied with the classic solid or striped two-piece bikini, and it was really hard for me to find a piece to get excited about. So I said, “Why don’t I just make it myself?”, and that’s how everything started!

A lot of vintage influences are peppered throughout the line. What is it about vintage that appeals to you?

I feel like that old-school covered-up silhouette is far more sensual and attractive than many of the shapes we see nowadays, and I’d love to see that back-in-the-day look get back to the beach. I remember as a little girl, seeing the old, dusty pictures of my young grandma in her one-piece suits and thinking, “I wanna look like that!”.

Your ad campaign is so eye-catching, and it all looks like a lot of fun. What was the concept behind it?

Sofia Coppola meets Harmony Korine meets Metallica’s Whiskey in the Jar.

Any personal style/design heroes?

Mick and Bianca Jagger, Jane Birkin, Francoise Hardy, Anita Pallenberg and Chloe Sevigny.

Describe your favorite swimsuit you own (besides La Belle Rebelle).

My James Dean one-piece from We Are Handsome. It’s so rock ‘n’ roll.

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