A Look Back At Summer Skin 1.0
Back when the Big Dub took their Summer Skin seriously and didn't just dash off a crumb to the anniversary with a mere four photoshoots *ahem*, they gave just about every diva on the roster their own day of swim snaps. I remember how freakin' amazing that summer was, waiting to see who was going to be next and what they had chosen for swimwear and the locations and just...ogh...so much fantasticness! That - and I can hardly believe this because it seems like this blog's been my baby forevs - was back in the days before I was a fashion writer. So, although I got to savor and be inspired by each 'shoot, I didn't get to review them. Remedying that as we speak :)...or rather as we share thoughts electronically via various networks. It's so funny to think back to those moments - I had a different car, different laptop to race to wwe.com on, different hair color, same love of wrestling in general and divas in particular (thank Maria and Michelle for that; they hooked me). The continual and unprecedented 'shoot releases kept the whole summer lit...not that lit was in common usage then :). It made a huge impression on me because it coincided with the first summer I was a huge diva fan. I don't remember what order the snaps came out in, but I do remember raving over Maria's, Maryse's (some things never change ;)) ...
Maria's set was as diverse as her fashion is, ranging through some girl-next-door blue denim-esque and skull-accented, rocker chick piece before getting to the heart and soul of her fashion: glam. This mint-and-gold set had me drooling with it's shining beauty. Maria went heavy with gold statement jewelry, adding plenty of va-voom to an already attention-getting look. She pushed her poses to the dramatic limits - sometimes blowing right over them, but whatever :) - now that's how you work some bamboo! And thennnnn, she busted out the bikini I can't forget. Well, ok, maybe I can forget those metallic boy shorts, but that triangle top covered in massive silver paillettes? Never. Oh, and there was a star charm dangling off the center. I still want that piece. Her roll-front side-pony was about as glam as glamour gets. And there were also stud bracelets. Not sure my heart ever left that shoot. So maje.
Then again, Maryse didn't go easy on the heartstrings with her looks. She included sequined sets in magenta and red, a pure white bikini shot in the spray, a glittering blue bikini and then these two: a black triangle set covered with crystals and the curveball of the line-up: a floral-printed french top paired with white bottoms which boasted super-long side ties. It was basically a "You'll need oxygen for this" set of snaps from stem to stern, but these two stood out particularly for the backgrounds and poses. The black bikini was shot with Maryse perched on an outcropping of rocks. It looked challenging, but that brought out the best in her, as she draped herself over the rocks for a stunning series of shots. The floral bikini was shot primarily on the beach, with Maryse half-in/half-out of the water. Her poses, all the way from laying in the sand to kneeling in the foam evoke quintessential summer.
I'm not sure we've seen Natalya in yellow since, but she caught my attention fast and hard with this black, marigold and lemon printed push-up top set. I give her massive props for having found a bright yellow bikini that wasn't either super silly or accented with pink - I know from experience how hard that is! She smashed the piece, creating killer shots as she rolled and lounged in the sand. The print reminds of a tiger and Natalya sure seemed to be feeling that fierce, animalistic spirit! She splashed around in the water wearing a beautiful, feminine bikini in purple - the bottom was a print while the top was accented with appliqué flowers (talk about being ahead of the trend!) before she got to this super-simple white set, featuring a french top and unembellished bottoms. The surfboard prop dimmed her shine for a couple of snaps, but it couldn't be kept down for long. Jettisoning that, Nattie really let her personality sparkle through and it led to some of my favorite snaps of her ever. Her lighthearted joy in these shots is palpable...and gorgeous!
Who could forget Eve's leopard monokini having once seen it?! The piece was an immediate standout and Eve's poses capture feline grace and latent power as she sprawled across the rocks. Her other offerings included a pretty palm print, an effervescent yellow triangle with striped bottoms (that she frolicked in atop a wall!) and a tribal-printed piece shot in front of a fire pot (complete with blaze). Although the bikini itself was a touch drab color-wise, I loved the uniqueness of those last shots. The unusual lighting made for such an interesting look! Eve returned to the strong hues that suit her so well with her last bikini, a plum sliding halter that -with the open sea behind her - made a beautiful accent to simple but stunning snaps.
Lilian played around with a sporty pink zip-front number that would be ttly on-trend right now, taking big risks to get action shots. She also rocked a zebra bikini (set beautifully on gray and white rocks), which she accented with bold silver jewelry and a metallic-accented black halter and matching bottoms, which she finished with boots. My favorite snaps form her, though, came from this ultra-classic little black bikini (sometimes topped with a fishnet mesh tee) . She posed in the beach grass for most of the set and the effect was organic and beautiful!
Anyone remember Jillian, WWE's resident Britney wanna-be? (Gaga hadn't even happened yet. Imagine a Gaga-less world!). She experimented with a floral bikini, as well as the seemingly ubiquitous sparkling blue set before breaking out this ruffled pairing, noteworthy for both its neckline+waist accent and its lilac shade. It holds up pretty well after all this time, eh? I also loved her edgier turn in a lime pair, accented with metallic hardware, shot on black stairs. That set of snaps had such a great vibe, very different from all the sun-drenched beach scenes.
Layla was one of the few divas to experiment with strapless pieces, choosing a half-striped aqua set, as well as this solid red pair with side-tie bottoms. The waves crashing behind her kicked up spray that formed one of the most dramatic backgrounds of all the divas' snaps. I also loved the iconic vibe of her walking-in-the-water shots. She lounged on the rocks in an embellished mango-hued halter bikini, before moving on to my favorite of her swimwear picks: this ombre-sequined triangle top, accented with studs and paired with solid black bottoms. It had the crave-worthy grunge-glam vibe we'd see her live in a bit later in LayCool. I loved the soft volume in her hair - it looked stunning!
With only one exception, Michelle's looks were centered around the theme of her favorite color, blue. This earth-toned print set was the lone variation in color scheme, which was probably a good thing since it served to harmonize its complexity. Double straps at the top, a lace-up front, ruffles at the base of the bra top and edge of the foldover bottoms, plus a cute front tie - there's a ton going on here, but it's held together by the simple color. I thought the styling, from the lace-up detail to the foldover was expertly chosen for Michelle as it enhanced all her curves and helped her somewhat straighter silhouette look, well...flawless :). I remember her mentioning in an interview that the blue lace set - with a bandeau and low-waist bottoms was her favorite bikini. Not only was it femme and delicate, it led to some fab snaps, as it was the only one in which she experimented with laying and sitting (on water-covered steps) in. Her refined pony was a classy complement. She also gave us some graceful poses (and a salute! :)) in front of a fountain in a nautical-themed bikini with a navy top, patchwork bottoms and rope-like ties. Her LayCool-trademark statement earrings were already in evidence, even though the look fit with the All-American Girl persona Michelle was showcasing at the time. Perhaps the most surprising choice was her blue zebra halter with its studded accents. Print was rare for Michelle and I remember thinking what a wild selection this was for her - but she nailed some killer stances in it (black platform peeptoe pumps and all!) that make the most of her long, lean lines. They rocked me at the time and a are what stick in my memory the most now! It takes inherent flawlessness to own a crazy piece like that and not have it wear you. Michelle got it.
Mickie's collection of print and camo bikinis probs weren't at the top of my list for swimwear choices (excepting that yellow print one of course! I always make an exception for yellow :)). But her poses were second to none! She slaaaaayyyyyyed - the wall, the street, the sand. Laying, standing, kneeling. Didn't matter what or where, Mickie rocked the life out of her snaps, channelling playful sport enthusiast, bombshell-next-door and sultry vixen-in-leopard vibes to perfection. She earned huge props for being one of the few ladies who explored multiple characters within the 'shoot, something I looooved seeing! So much so that she actually sold me on the camo. Just amaaaaaaazing work! Can you pick a fave? Well....can ya? ;)
Beth chose nearly all solid-colored bikinis, with the exception of a blue ombre piece, that was similar to Candice's, except that it had a super-cute tie front top and side bottoms. Her other choices were a softly glowing banana yellow pair and a glorious sun-kissed melon set. Her looks depended strongly only the colors, as all her swimwear was free from embellishment and the concept worked nicely, leaving Beth as the focal point of the 'shoot. She employed her Glamazon character (and the swagged headband! :)) for her poses, something I loved. It made such a nice tie-in with her in-ring work. I also was curious as to how a fighter like Beth would handle something as sultry and femme as a bikini 'shoot. She answered emphatically by rocking it! And it was a ton of fun to see some of that side of her injected into the snaps, even through the lens of her Glamazon persona, as it gave extra depth and dimension to the powerful diva we saw on-screen.
We don't see a whole lot of Candice these days, but in 2007, she was in the midst of ruling the Divas' division. She always had a Marilyn Monroe-esque sensuality to her, something she played up both in the ring and in shoots. Her shorter hair was new here and evoked comment at the time; I thought it looked fantastic on her and enhanced the Marilyn vibe. Her bikini choices were typically dramatic - little about Candice was subtle and you had to love her for it! - scalding red, blue ombre, zebra paired with blue print, hardware-embellished black. I preferred the simplicity of her red choice (though I could have skipped the necklace), and her black piece. The latter set had incredible impact due to the dark vibes from the under-rocks location and Candice's suede OTKs. Her poses did nothing to dampen the drama of this intensity-packed set!
It would be hard to top the variety in Barbie's choices of swimwear. It ranged from a very distinctive chocolate (with a touch of shine) set, to a bright magenta-pink pair (with a triangle top, instead of the halter she would wear in one of her last ever WWE 'shoots) with jeweled detailing on the bottoms and then on to patterned pieces. See began with a beautiful white bikini with a scrolling coral-like metallic design, moved on to an aqua-trimmed leopard string set and finished up with a flame like animal print in burgundy, orange and golden yellow shades. Silver slides, a crystal bangles and a beyond-gorgeous half up-do brought out the sweetness of the pink pieces - with a touch of sparkle that echoed the shimmer of the magnificent pool that served as a backdrop. Barbie had the glamour-girl-next-door vibes in full effect with her graceful poses. She brought the fierce with the blue-lined leopard set, finishing it with suede OTK boots for extra attitude and working the heck of the columns behind her for a seriously fab set. She took things to a new level of scalding with the fire-leopard bikini, adding a gun necklace and golden metallic knee boots that would have Lana drooling. Her saucy, confident poses slayed bigly. I had an impossible time picking a fave then..and I still do now. Basically, Barbie in a bikini just rocks extra. End of story. She earns huge props from me for bringing out the aesthetic of each bikini via her styling choices and poses - it was the work of a consummate model. Incredible work!
Some things are just too dang good to leave in the spider-webbed recesses of the past. Summer Skin 1.0 was one of them. Maybe we'll get another bonanza like it sometime in the great wide future, but until then, we'll always have this!
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Brie: shoe-lover :) fashion-lover and generally glamorous semi-dork
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