Arin Robinson remembers her first kiss .. at least most of it.
It happened, as these things sometimes do, at a summer camp in Vail, Colo., where Arin and sister Jessie stayed in imitation teepees like the one above.
“I don’t even remember his name,” recalls the co-founder of lingerie label Zinke Intimates, “but it was really sweet.”
The boy’s name may have faded from memory, but the moment left behind a mental snapshot that would be put to use years later when the Zinke sisters were developing themes for their Spring 2012 collection, American Summer.
The sunny new collection is achingly pretty and draws from the Zinke girls’ unabashedly fond memories of long, hot summer days spent growing up in Tulsa.
“We probably have this nostalgic view of American summer,” Arin said. “We lived in a big neighborhood full of kids and we spent the summers slipping and sliding.”
If Zinke’s earlier collection, the widely admired Souvenirs from last fall, was a salute to American landscapes, this one is a companion range that seeks to capture the carefree spirit of youthful summer romances.
Style ranges help get that message across, with names like First Kiss, Summer Crush, Montauk, Scout, Fireside and XOXO. And the photo campaign to accompany the collection was shot at the iconic Ruschmeyer’s Hotel on Long Island, which no doubt triggers romantic memories for countless summertime visitors.
American Summer is filled with soft, breezy, comfortable pieces in lace, chiffon and stretch charmeuse. Highlights include airy crop tops, a gently ruched boyshort style that Zinke calls flutter briefs, and a Swiss dot ensemble that manages to be both elegant and casual.
It’s also a bit less technical than Zinke’s last collection. Gone are the hook-and-eye bras and ribbon-tie playsuits, although you’ll find one new Zinke innovation that embodies the collection’s playful spirit — reversible bralets. There’s also the beginnings of a Zinke “basics” collection, involving a simple lace bralet and matching slip in ivory and nude crinkle chiffon.
And, as with all Zinke collections, color is a central feature and selling point of American Summer, which offers a vibrant palette of hues with names like orchid, lemonade and spice.
Many pieces in this collection are a bit too stylish to stay under clothing, and are meant to work as layering pieces in any number of looks. So you can expect to see a lot of Zinke — especially those short crop toplets — on beaches, at festivals, and in hipster clubs and cafes this summer.
American Summer will begin arriving in stores early next month. And it comes at an important time in the evolution of this rapidly growing label.
This week, Zinke takes its catalog of fashionable Americana on the road when their team visits the Salon Internationale de la Lingerie expo in Paris. The label is currently available in Hong Kong and Australia and through Anthropologie’s UK operation, but the huge Paris exhibition will be Zinke’s first attempt to woo European retailers.
“The response we’ve received over and over is that (our styles) have a European aesthetic, so we hope this will be appealing to them,” Arin told Lingerie Talk. “Jessie (the designer) has such a wonderful take on color and creates unique designs that really are not there at the moment. So it will be something unique for everyone to see.”
(American retailers who are visiting Salon Internationale from Jan. 21-23 can find Zinke in Booth H76 in Hall 1.).
As for that lucky boy who left such an indelible — if incomplete — impression on Arin all those years ago: he may never know about his own small contribution to the American fashion scene. But don’t be surprised if, years from now, a lot of women look back on the summer of 2012 and fondly recall their own first kiss, thinking: “I can’t remember the boy’s name, but I do know I was wearing Zinke!”.
Here are some looks from Zinke’s Spring 2012 collection, American Summer.