Gigi Caruso, daughter of real-estate mogul Rick Caruso and swimsuit model Tina Caruso, is only 17-years-old and has her own luxury swimwear brand. What were you doing when you were 17? Worn by the likes of Julianne Hough and Rocky Barnes, Caruso’s bikinis are quickly becoming hot commodities this season for their ability to be both insanely sexy and actually wearable for water sports.
Recently picked up by retailer Revolve, the line is sporty and sexy with quality to match. Gigi approached her mother about designing swimwear when she was only 15-years-old. An avid wakeboarder, the teenager wanted suits she could wear when she was out doing sports without compromising her love for fashion. “I wanted a suit that would stay on when I wakeboarded but also made a statement — something where you didn’t have to change from looking elegant and sexy on the beach to being on the water and active,” she tells InStyle.com.
It started with Gigi deconstructing her own old swimsuits and refashioning them into her own, new styles. She wanted to be sure the designs were chic, but could also withstand the harsh California waves. After two years of development, Gigi C finally launched in 2017.
Fashion and business are clearly in her blood, but real-estate big shot Rick can take a back seat on this one. Her mother, Gigi says, has been the most instrumental in her daughter’s success. “She’s really brought a lot to the table with designing, getting inspiration from the old suits she would wear,” the high school senior explains. “Working together has [made] us really close.”
Back in the '80s, Gigi’s mother Tina was a swimsuit and lingerie model. And to no surprise, the designer says her biggest inspiration come from her mother’s old modeling photos. “Other than that, just looking at runways shows from the '80s or Instagram — everything’s on Instagram,” says Gigi.
And since everything in the fashion world is on social media, it can seem like there are a million options to pick from. Narrowing it down to choose what to invest in each season can be an arduous task. Gigi tells InStyle that her line is “one of the highest quality swimwear brands in Southern California. The material and sewing quality are exceptional.” She uses Tricot and scuba fabric, which she describes as “a thin, soft, silky kind of fabric that hugs onto your body and makes everything stay in place.”
One unique aspect of her line is the sexy cutouts — something we haven’t typically seen in more athletic swimwear. This design theme was an important branding decision. “When you look at our suits you can see ‘oh, that’s a Gigi C,” she says.
Gigi, who is equally worried about what patterns and fabrics to pick as she is finishing her college applications, hopes to stay local for school and study business, enabling her to continue working on Gigi C. “My goal for my suits is to make women feel confident, sexy, and elegant,” says Gigi — definitely a tagline we at InStyle.com can stand behind.
Gigi C Bikinis’ summer collection launches in April 2018. Gigi and Tina also have a pop-up shop at the Grove in Beverly Hills starting in May ‘18.