Thursday, July 3, 2014

High on Style: Two easy pieces

Posted By on Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 5:30 AM

click to enlarge AAROLYN SPRADLEY
  • Aarolyn Spradley
Vintage swimwear still makes a splash at the beach, but a hot new twist on the modest style from Allusions by A. Lekay screams fabulous. I caught up with Allusions proprietress Altrichia Cook (aka A. Lekay) at the tail end of her company’s one-year birthday bash.

So what are high-waist bikinis doing in a modern world? For Lekay, they arose from the need to address a common issue.

“I am a mother and I do have abdominal imperfections,” Lekay shares. “I had my son at a very young age. I raised my son at college with me so when traveling with sorority sisters and college friends, I was never able to wear a two-piece. I always wanted to wear a two-piece to feel sexy.”

Allusions by A. Lekay swimwear brings the sexy. From imaginative shapes and cutouts to sheer see-through sections (found in the “Optical” collection), these suits give just the right amount away, and have fun doing it. Leopard print, neon floral, and psychedelic patterns all command attention.
click to enlarge AAROLYN SPRADLEY
  • Aarolyn Spradley

She tried some other high-waist swimwear, but Lekay says, “It wasn’t high enough for my situation.” So she took matters into her own hands. She sketches the designs, sources fabrics domestically and contracts with a local tailor near her home in Lakeland. Each Allusions by A. Lekay swimsuit is fashioned in the U.S. and all are “definitely inspired by 1950s pin-up models such as Marilyn Monroe.” Prices range from $95.50-$130, and the swimsuits are available online at allusionsbyalekay.com. 

Lekay looks for ways to make a difference and wants to serve as a mentor and positive influence. She was a “borderline shopping addict,” has a Master’s degree in social work and a career as a probation officer. “I’ve always had a keen interest in helping others and a desire to inspire,” she says. She wants young girls and boys to know there are infinite possibilities for those who are determined. “You can overcome and rise above any stigma that society attaches to you,” she asserts.

Drawing a connection between social work and the fashion business, Lekay says, “Instead of helping someone of a low socio-economic status, I’m helping someone find her sexy again.

“I don’t condone obesity or an unhealthy lifestyle, but we do cater to all women from all walks of life.” I asked if she had plans to dive into men’s swimwear. She doesn’t, but points out that one of her sorority sisters, who was just on Shark Tank, has warned her that new businesses don’t always unfold according to plan. She may have to adjust. “I don’t foresee it now, but who knows?”

She is contemplating her next moves, though, with visions of sheer cover-up shorts and body chains dancing in her head. If the prints are any indication, the future looks bright, but Allusions by A. Lekay also has a dark side. An all-black “Onyx” collection hit the waves already and soon the “Swim After Dark” collection will arrive.

“It’s not going to be a typical summer collection but it does have a hint of flirtiness,” A. Lekay says. “Swim After Dark will be a little mysterious.” 

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