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 forevevs - was back in the days before I was 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.
Oooookay..since the Big Dub has just released a finale of unreleased snaps from these last four photoshoots, I assume that "Summer Skin 2.0" has officially concluded. Booo! Four divas? You're kidding, right? I call serious gyp-age! And now, before my rant goes into unprintables and bleeps, let's talk about Maryse.
She graced us with two bikinis and a one-piece. I was particularly struck by her choices for the bikinis. Both pieces had wonderful, saturated summer colors - cherry red and bright aqua , but beyond that, both swimsuits are very simple. I was surprised by that because we've often seen Maryse reach for be-crystalled, sequined and otherwise-embellished pieces that bring a lot of energy to a 'shoot in and of themselves. The iconic red bikini pairs a french top with absolutely plain bottoms. Maryse naturally rocks it, because she is Maryse, but I'd have some reservations about recommending this set to the general populace. Her silver statement cuff and the trendy pink-red combo created by her lavender-pink nails add some spark. Even so, the look is a tad short of punch on its own. Consequently, it's the poses where Maryse injects her own formidable panache and personality that work the best. When she does a simple stance in front of palm leaves, the set feels uninspiring. When she plays with her hair and looks down as she laughs, it steals the show.
When I saw this post come out, I began to wonder and now, I'm pretty certain: WWE is reprising Summer Skin! It's fitting, considering that this is the 10 year anniversary of the original concept 'shoot's release. And since it coincided with my early wrestling fandom, that 'shoot has a special place in my heart :) More on that later. Let's get to this rendition of Summer Skin. Emma kicks things off with a simple halter bikini, accented with touches of metallic gold. The standout feature of this set is the divine color, a rich hyacinth shade that's crave worthy! She accented it with a statement lariat necklace that's dripping with tiny seed beads. The interplay of colors - aqua and plum with the hyacinth shade - is stunning, but I also love the way the piece is light and airy, despite its strong presence.
Next up is a trademark Emma look, hearkening back to her earlier days of Aussie lingo and tons of prints. Here, she's evolved that concept from innocently playful to maturely sassy. She skips the all-over print and goes for a printed top, paired with solid bottoms, which enhances the color and makes this busy print much more appealing. The tart pink is a fab summer shade that works flawlessly on her. The only thing I'd switch here is her earrings - the red is a little jarring since it comes pretty much out of nowhere. Aqua or banana would have been my preference for their light, warm-weather vibe, followed by burgundy. Her frosted blush lip shade is amaaaaaayzing, tho! It's my fave color of the three she used and looks utterly gorgeous!
From there, she moves on to an aqua french top with a fluttery mesh overlay. The set has a summery softness due to the combination of the pastel blue-green shade and the texture of the mesh . How pretty is that?! The white bottoms are accented with touches of print in a coordinating tone which pulls the look together perfectly. Side cutouts ramp up the sexy and add a modern edge to the overall vibe of sweetness. A selection of thing bangles - white, gold crystal on a black backdrop and horn w/ gold accents - add extra dimension, but in a suitably subtle way.
Last up is a cloud-like lilac tie-dyed one-piece. The swimsuit gets a massive dose of flirtation from the lattice inset from the bust upwards to the halter neck, but the overall feel is dreamy and restful. Emma brings out the softness in the shading by adding a stack of slim white bracelets. Pastels are a departure from the norm for her, so I naturally applaud it - I always love seeing the ladies expand their comfort zone and try new things. To that end, I also wouldn't have minded seeing her play with an up-do or ponytail on this look...or at least lift her hair up with her hands :)
Throughout the set, her stances are excellent. She particularly nails a number of the shots done in her printed bikini. On my wish list: a little more focus on facials - several of her half-smiles lean into 'grimace' territory. Fortunately, her stares make up for that - they work fabulously, making for consistently gorgeous shots.
I've always maintained that belt 'shoots are some of the hardest to do well. So often, the ladies have to stand in front of a blank backdrop with the belt as an unwieldy prop and try to make it compelling. No small feat. It helps if you have a new angle, which Naomi certainly does :) And it makes her title 'shoot one of the awesomest in recent memory! It's shot in semi-darkness, with the glowing belt throwing a significant portion of the light. That alone gives it a very distinctive and super cool look. But Naomi and her photog don't stop there. They literally come from a different angle - lots of them! Above, below right, below left: they experiment with in every shot and it works. It's funky and intriguing and makes you eager for the next pic to see what they came up with next. The belt takes a good bit of the stage, due to it's lighting effects, but Naomi isn't overshadowed. Her neon lime gear reflects the light from the belt, making it look like it too is glowing, whichjust adds to the shoot's dramatic interplay of brightness and darkness. The lettering of her top injects some extra color, which she echoes via her lime, aqua and pink hair colors - that looks SO FREAKIN' AMAZING! A touch of purple sheen from her lips brings one more succulent shade to the mix - so, more fabulosity, basically. She explores a myriad of facials from a full smile, to a delightful half-smile to a look of vindication. The excellent variation keeps the set from getting stale or repetitive. There's something of an 80's vibe to the snaps due to the neon, but it's less wide-eyed and innocent. There's a maturity and strength here - despite the appealing colors and totally fun use of light. It's like Naomi has found her zen, but it's not merely meditative. It's a pulsing, vivacious electric zen... and I'm savoring it! If she hadn't mentioned how long it took her to devise this character and work out the kinks, I could regret all the directionless silliness of the Funkadactyls. Think of that when she had this kind of amazing-ness in her consciousness all the time! This is an incredible concept which comes across as feeling like home for Naomi - something she has a clear vision for and a bulls-eye-like sense of how to convey. Tremendous work!
Naomi celebrated the Fourth of July with four bikini looks (guess she's giving Lana and Selena some competition for most looks in a day, huh? ;) ).
For her first, she poses in front of a massive white fence in a super-fun mix-n-match combo. Her black top gets a spark from the lace-up detailing in a multicolored cording. I love the way it lights up the classic black bikini! She ramps that up by adding bikini bottoms in one of the neon bright shades from the cording. I'm 100% on board with this look! It's such a fun way to make the black top feel summery and joyous. I also love her pile of bracelets, which add dashes of additional colors - that's the party vibe I was looking for! :) I'd have loved to see her get crazy with her eyeshadow shades here to add one more shot of brightness to look - imagine a bright magenta and intense lemon combo! Yum! Naomi does a solid job of posing with the fence and creates some confident shots - her clasped-hands+leaning foward shot is a gem!. It seems like it may have been a bit constricting overall as a backdrop, though. Some of the other settings allowed her greater freedom, with magnificent results!
Her next look had a classical Americana vibe that was just right for the Fourth of July. I love the way this piece represented a take on the Stars and Stripes that referenced it, without being an exact replica. The intense, clean colors look wonderful on Nay-nay and the ruffle on her top makes for a pretty and trendy detail. I love the softness and movement it adds to the look! Her red stone bracelet and apple-hued lips enhance the iconic vibe. I really enojyed the choice to shoot this bikini poolside - it's a stunning and brilliant background that's color-appropriate, while still having depth and movement. It also gives Naomi a chance to explore some really unique and different poses, which creates several highlight moments, including the one of her in the water, leaning on the pool's edge and her killer leaning-back poses, where the swirl of the water creates a gorgeous visual around her.
Her printed lime and black one-piece is the most in keeping with her feel-the-glow aesthetic. The colors in the suit translate particularly well to that vibe and the tribal print has an ancient, lost-art quality to it that fits in nicely. As with her Americana bikini, Naomi breaks some new ground her poses, exploring some hands-over-head and hands-on-body stances that work really well. My hands-down fave, though, is her hair-flip pose - that is completely AMAZING! Her hair colors leap off the white cement background, while the tall grass below echoes them. It's a glorious moment of modernity meeting nature that concurrently captures a spirit of freedom and exuberance, while the sun reflects off her skin, making Naomi truly glow. It is unquestionably one of the top photos in the set, flawless in every way.
And speaking of flawless, how about my hands down #1 set of the group: Nay-nay's final bikini pairs a leopard push-up style top with fabulous neon melon bottoms. The combo of leopard with orange is ahhhmaaaayyyyzing - the warm tones of the leopard are deepened and enriched by the sweet citrus glow. And the bottoms have their own special detailing - an array of straps that make them way sexier than your standard bikini bottoms (which are generally plenty sexy even sans embellishment ;)) The look gets and additional boost from the accessories - statement earrings in the form of a chain of golden globes and a lace-up choker. There's an untamed-glamazon-queen quality to the styling and it looks like Naomi was feeling it right down to her fingertips. Her soft smoky eye brings some extra attitude ...and so does she! She works this ensemble to the ends of the earth and SLAYS absolutely every shot! The bamboo makes the perfect prop, working not only as a background, but as something Naomi can bend and play with and half-hide in as well, creating wonderful visual depth. She looks completely at home in front of the camera and it's like she can literally do no wrong - the lens loves it all! And so do I! I'm ecstatic seeing such an incredible set from her. Rule it, Queen!
Lana made a huge impact when she debuted on Smackdown Live . And she made one here too, giving us not 1, not 2... but 5 outfits to review! Oh boy, lets get this started because we have a lot to cover!
The first look from Lana is one of my favorites - which actually took me totally by surprise since I am really, really, REALLY over the sheer trend! Lana manages to inject some freshness into it with a design that's tantalizing without being overtly revealing. I love the way the central mesh turns this visual two-piece into a bodysuit and, at the same time, allows an extra sprinkling of crystals to be added that ties the top and bottom together. I'm also not generally a fan of visible panties, but these are so subtle, with the nude under nude tones, that rather than bugging me, they create a tastefully daring couture-tinged vibe that I really enjoy. Lastly, I don't generally love silver with beige. This shade matches Lana's skin so perfectly, however, that it's more like a silver monochrome piece. So, basically, Lana took just about everything I hate and made me love it. Now, that's style! The leafy pieces used in the construction are gorgeous and elegant (what a rare adjective for ring gear, right?) and remind me of snow-covered branches and give this piece a magical quality. She completed the look with her silver OTK boots and the way they solidify the dancing quality if the silver and crystals is perfection. The only pop of color in the whole styling comes from Lana's berry lip tone, which looks amazing, softer and sweeter than a fiery red would be and making warm, romantic counterpoint to the chilled beauty of her gear.
From there, she moves on to another of what appears to be her new trademark piece: the sequined maxi. This is a fairly simple rendition with a sweetheart neckline and on-trend thigh-high slit. It's the color that gives this piece it's power and impact: this deep magenta shade is mesmerizing! Once again, Lana reaches for just the right lip shade, this time choosing a fuschia tone that coordinates with the sequins, but matches the dress' lining, adding a nice touch of complexity to the color story. She completed the look with metallic pointy pumps. While they are appropriate, I wish she'd gone for something with a less weighty and fierce silhouette. Although it could be a bit tricky to zigzag around the pitfalls of "dance contestant" or "beauty pageant participant", a simple ankle strap or wrap sandal would do quite nicely.
Lana reprised her MITB look in a full photoshoot for us, something I love because it allows us to really savor all the intricate details of her gear. This silver and blue ensemble is a fabulous development of the silhouette she created for her Wrestlemania debut.The bodysuit and glamorous push-up bra remain, while side cutouts provide a new element of intrigue. I adore the contrast between the glittering central fabric and the smooth, metallic sheen of the piping! There's so much variation - from sparkled silver to satin silver, from sky-blue glitter to solid electric blue that the color scheme feels tastefully complex, while still retaining the strong harmony that makes it instantly accessible. Gone are the feminine floral embellishments. They've been replaced by a sharpened-hourglass graphic with a mechanical-engineering vibe that's streamlined, powerful and modern - like something you'd find adorning a race car. It brings a fascinating edginess to the glamour of the glittery fabric. Lana's love affair with metallic boots makes perfect sense when you see it here, paired with this gear. The fierceness of the flat, metallic OTK completes this look perfectly. Lana added a bright coral lip, which brings just the right does of warmth to this cool-hued look. Not satisfied with slaying us via gear, she also included several snaps with her ombre-sequined over-gown. The halter+choker design reinforces the glamorous, beauty-contestant vibe, but it's the thigh-high slit that really caught my attention! It's deep enough to be daring, but there's no fear of wardrobe malfunctions with the bodysuit below, so we're free to savor the sexiness -and there's plenty of that! Unlike many current renditions of the high slit, the showy aspect of Lana's is minimized by her boots so it feels neither attention-seeking nor trashy nor brazen; it's just HAWT and nothing but the hawt! Well played, Lana! Her poses are solid as always, with standards interspersed with a few of the gems she always manages to create, the one-legged-blowing-a-kiss is a particular fave of mine because...balance! Like, for real. That is so not easy. PS her blonde beachy waves are crave-worthy. Synopsis: another Lana 'shoot, another slaying. She's too good.
With Maria's advent on Smackdown, the WWE took some time to traipse down memory lane by excavating some of her past photoshoots from the vault. Scrolling through the gallery, several things struck me. First, what completely amazing bikinis Maria picks out! The star-spangled mint one was a piece I fell for at first sight! It really doesn't get much more glam than that! At the opposite end of the spectrum is this denim-esque one, with it's girl-next-door quality. Maria, of course, spiked it by adding lemon yellow platform sandals to the mix, but the swimsuit is seriously fab in and of itself. Next, one thing the gallery really highlights is the innate sense of drama in Maria's style. Even when she does a basically classic outfit (like her black tee and jeans look), she still manages to inject attitude and flamboyance somewhere, somehow. With that outfit, it's a crystal belt and a pair of black and crystal bracelets. With her gold-edged red gown, which she wore while picking up her 2009 Slammy for Diva Of The Year, she added a golden hair band, embellished with a huge, but delicate filigree butterfly in front of her poofed half updo. There's always a splash of the unexpected, a shot of panache, something attention-grabbing. While she's perfectly happy to explore over-the-top scenarios - and manages to slay them far more often than not - the funky true-to-self passion in her style keeps it perpetually surprising and engaging. It's something I can't help but love and respect! Lastly, it's noteworthy how many current trends she managed to touch on, six, seven, eight years before their resurgence. Ruffles? Check. Off the shoulder tops? Check. High-waisted, wide-leg pants? Check. One-piece swimsuits? Check. The girl is a fashion tsunami. Translation: style maven worth paying attention to! I'm so glad she's staying on our screens :)
First, I apologize for the extreme tardiness of this review...and I take back every griping thing I ever said about Joey Styles. Then again, he gets paid to get the pics up and I don't earn zip from this labor of love I fit in around life, animals and a real job. So, actually, I don't take back anything I said about him after all :). Second, I'm laughing at myself as I'm posting this review. You would never believe how many times I've re-done the collages because my placements keep changing as I analyze and weight the looks. This is HARD, babes! Every year, so many ladies come out here and slay and somehow I have to distill it all into some kind of order. It's cray! And it's also fun. And I'm usually hella proud of the list when I finally get done, probably because I fight so hard to make it accurate and justify each placing. As always, I feel the need to mention that I madly adore each of these divas and root for all of them to rock the ravishing red lane of fame. I love it every time they do! That being said...
This ‘shoot from Nikki just prior to Wrestlemania was such an amazing departure form almost anything we’ve seen her do before! I applaud the unique vibe of this set; it’s hungry, gritty, dirty…and yet, unlike other divas’ we’ve seen explore this type of setting, she still manages to interject a shot of high fashion into her styling. It creates this wonderful cataclysm of slick polish and grimy, relentless effort. The lighting in this shoot ranges through various shades of red, blue and lilac and is completely gorgeous! I’m especially a fan of the lilac shade – it gives a super cool electric, neon energy and beauty to the shots.
Her first look might be my favorite – although it’s got some stiff competition! :) She pairs an artfully ripped and knotted lace-up tank in a light heather gray with charcoal knit shorts. The gray shades work brilliantly with the lavender light, and convey the steely, focused vibe of the ‘shoot perfectly. She throws us the first of her couture curveballs at the finish, though, by completing this look with heeled ankle booties. I love the textured leather and the sheen, as well as how she connects them back to the vibe of her outfit with striped socks! She also get Fierce points for the practical but powerful braids that make her look like a warrior princess!
Next up is a striped brassiere set beneath a torn mesh tee. I find the latter piece distracting, which is unfortunate because I love the look of the brassiere! I might have gone with simpler cat-scratch style tears to for a less complex visual, even though it would have hidden the brassiere more. I’m wild over her safety-pinned shorts, though! Done in her trademark red, they convey intensity and a Rocky-like determination to rise and succeed, in spite of worn-to-shreds gear. Her military-style boots accentuate this vibe flawlessly, adding the perfect exclamation point to this outfit.
Her next offering is a bodysuit, again in her signature shade of flame. I’m borderline on the cut of the front, but from there on, I’m all in! The open-cut back is so hot! And her suede, hardware-embellished booties? Yes, please! She adds even more edge and attitude with a wide, black leather choker. I'm intrigued by her use of the body harness - leaving it open adds movement and softens the overall effect in an interesting way. I would have been interested to see how it compared if done in black instead of natural. Her poses in this section are A+, adding a driving artistry and insistent fashion industry vibe to the basement-gym theme.
Her last outfit expands on that theme. The monochrome look combines a bodycon romper with lace-up detailing at the sides and over-the-knee boots. The minimalist pairing gets shot of fierceness from its incorporation of an ultra-wide waist belt, a theme which a number of designers explored this spring. The unusual setting and props (how many times do we get to see divas play around on a pair of rings?!) let her push some boundaries in terms of poses, which works incredibly well.
The 'shoot is cohesive, despite its four separate looks. The theme is clear and communicated fantastically well, melding sport, sultriness and style in a surprising and alluring way. Brava.
Welcome to the place where wrestling & fashion join hands. #BeInspired #LoveFashion Let the Fierce be with you! ;) Peace & Glitter!
Brie: shoe-lover :) fashion-lover and generally glamorous semi-dork
Photos used for criticism and comment under US Copyright Act Section 107.