Fashionable Life: Gone to Hollywood

by Laura

Virginian Emily Gonzaga’s brazilian-inspired swimwear was seen by celebrities at the Grammys and Oscars. 

By Laura Wainman

Gonzaga sees celebrities with voluptuous bodies, such as Beyonce Knowles, as her ideal clients. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Between the Grammys and the Oscars, it has been a busy few weeks for our favorite celebs. Dresses to buy, tuxes to fit and speeches to write. But for one of our very own Washingtonians, Emily Gonzaga, these award shows meant weeks of prep. No, the Alexandria-based designer was not on stage at either of the prestigiious events, but her Brazilian-inspired swimwear collection, D’Milikah, was seen by those who were at both the Grammy Awards Gift Lounge and in the “Everybody Wins at the Oscars” bags for nominees. The Brazilian native chose five of her designs to bring with her to the Grammys, inlcuding the citrus snake and tiger print. Her designs were such a hit that she was asked to be a part of the Oscar gift bags as well. Washington Life chatted with Gonzaga to find out what it was like to be a part of these events and what she thought it said about the evolving style scene in Washington, that one of our own was chosen to represent the fashion community at the Grammys and Oscars.

Washington Life: Tell us a little about your background and how you started designing swimwear?
Emily Gonzaga:  I started designing because I lived close to the beach in brazil, and I developed a passion for swimsuits and beachwear. But I wanted women to feel comfortable in their own skin, especially when they wore beachwear. I started my brand in 2005 in brazil with these goals in mind, and moved to Alexandria in 2006 to launch the brand in America.

Bintha Print Bikini (Photo courtesy of D’Milikah)

WL: How is your line Brazilian-inspired?
EG: Through the prints and the hand-crafted touches. I go to brazil at least every 6 months to stay in touch.

WL: What makes your suits different from traditional Brazilian swimwear?
EG: We aren’t just selling suits with sexy cutouts and tiny shapes. The suits are made for a more broad taste and made for every body shape. I even have bathing suits for women who just had babies, and may have stretch marks who are trying to hide imperfections on their lower belly. We appeal to a broad audience.

WL: Let’s talk a little about your role at the Grammy’s. What did you do while you were there?
EG: I was invited to put a booth together in the Grammy Celebrity Gift Lounge. There were about 20 booths total, so it was a small, private area.The theme was zen garden and we had three days of rehearsals before the big event. Celebs passed by during breaks, looking for new things for themselves. They are literally coming to see what’s new and exciting. It was cool to be in the company of such big brands, like Pepsi and Gibson Guitar.

WL: How were you chosen?
EG: I was noticed at my show during Latin Fashion Week at the Convention Center in October.

(Photo courtesy of D’Milikah)

WL: What do you think it says about Washington style that an Alexandria-based designer was chosen to be showcased at both the Grammys and the Oscars?
EG:  It is surprising and cool. I think it might surprise a lot of people and maybe bring DC to a different level of trust when it comes to fashion. We have a lot of talent here in DC, and I want that to be seen.

WL: Who would be your ideal celebrity client?
EG: I am looking towards more voluptuous body types,like Jessica Biel or Beyoncé. More voluptuous bodies show the product in the right way.

WL: Where can readers find your suits?
EG: Tari boutique on Wisconsin, Old Town Alexandria and of course, my website.

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