Leave it to Bella Hadid to make a one-piece swimsuit sexier than a bikini.
Earlier this month, the supermodel, 23, strode through the St. Barts surf — martini in hand — wearing not a skimpy two-piece, but a cutout orangey-red monokini that showed just as much skin. Just a few weeks earlier, Kylie Jenner rocked the same fiery suit, posing with her hair whipping over her face on Instagram.
If 2018 and 2019 were all about the stringy, loin-cloth-style bikini, 2020 will be pure monokini madness. You can thank Los Angeles-based designer Melissa Simone Gardner, who has been at the forefront of pushing this graphic beach look into the mainstream with the “Elle” cutout one-piece.
The $140 strapless showstopper is part of the up-and-coming label’s fall/winter 2019 Elysian collection and is meant to evoke a sense of nostalgia with a modern design approach.
“What’s unique about this piece is that it offers the coverage and support of a one-piece, along with the sexiness of a ’90s high-cut bikini,” Gardner, 28, tells The Post.
While it certainly helps if you’re a svelte supermodel or an hourglassed Kardashian, Gardner suggests that the silhouette is universally flattering.
“I have always been in love with the high-cut silhouette because of its ability to create and enhance a woman’s curves,” the designer says.
Not only can you rock the half-moon cutout onesie and other geometric one-pieces on the beach, but they’re “extremely versatile,” Gardner says. “[It] can be worn as a bodysuit! I love how it looks with a vintage pair of distressed denim.” If you’re lucky enough to vacation in a warm-weather locale this winter, consider popping on a pair of flowy pants over the one-piece for a daring date-night look.
Gardner launched her namesake company, Melissa Simone, in August 2018 and has grown her Instagram fan base of more than 15,000 followers, with more daring designs in the works for the new year.
“Look out for another tropical feather print, cutout monokini to drop Jan. 4,” she says.
And Melissa Simone isn’t the only emerging brand making waves with sultry cutouts: British designer Louisa Ballou, a 26-year-old Central Saint Martins grad, crafts similar geometric creations that are exclusively sold at Opening Ceremony and Montreal-based retail SSENSE for between $200 and $400.
Hadid, Sofia Richie and English R&B songstress Jorja Smith have all posted pics of themselves on Insta rocking her graphically printed sculptural styles with signature O-ring detailing in recent months.
Bikini guru Emily Ratajkowski’s fashion line, Inamorata, carries solid-color, minimalist versions, including the Beacon’s style, which promises “ ’90s babe vibes” and goes for $160. And inclusive NYC collective Chromat, known for releasing empowering bodywear for all walks of life, sent slashed, skin-baring swimsuits down their 10th-anniversary spring/summer 2020 catwalk and currently has more than a dozen for sale online, with many that go up to size 3X.
Any way you slice it, this style is hot — just make sure to slather on the sunscreen to avoid funky tan lines.
Here’s how to get the look:
By Nicole Zane