It's such an honor to be featured in this French magazine alongside Gabriela Hearst
[Translated from French here]
It’s impossible to miss: a large concrete house in Venice Beach with windows that open up your imagination to the wild ocean. It is there that Marysia Dobrzanska Reeves lives with her business partner husband Nathaniel and their daughters Elle and Antonia.
Could you imagine a more perfect spot for a swimwear designer to call home?
“For me, New York was the center of the world, my absolute dream” she explains over a cup of tea. “It came true when my parents decided to leave Poland and come to the United States. That’s where I spent my teenage years, before studying at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in Los Angeles.”
After moving to Charleston, South Carolina, where husband Nathaniel grew up, she designed her first collection. The following season, she won their Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Competition.
One year later, in 2009, Marysia and Nathaniel moved back to NYC and officially launched Marysia Swim. After moving to her Venice home in 2016, she now splits her time between the two, having opened her flagship boutique in Soho earlier this year.
At 37, Marysia has become an influential designer, whose brand’s signature suits are spotted on beaches all over the world. “I went from tutus (when I studied dance in Varsovie) to wetsuits (when surfing the beaches of Delaware). It became apparent that I had an interest in swimwear. I felt that the ones available to be were too sporty. I didn’t necessarily want them to be sexier, but definitely more feminine. I wanted to look pretty and to feel good in what I was wearing.
Pretty; the word itself is old-fashioned to use but it perfectly encapsulates her swimwear, which often has a vintage touch, whether it be a knotted detail here or a lace-up fastening there. Every one of Marysia’s swimsuits boasts the name of a different beach or seaside resort. The most popular of her styles the Antibes, a scalloped bikini that in this season’s red iteration could have been worn by Brigitte Bardot in Saint-Tropez. So beloved is this particular style that fans revolted when she tried to forgo it for one season.Theres is also its iteration in a maillot worn by surfers from Biarritz to Newport to Santa Cruz.
Marysia spent a month with her family under the sun in Shelter Island in 2018. The Hamptons inspired the palette; the saturated red, blue and white of her collection. The memory of a throw pillow at a picnic inspired a print she then used on her swimwear. “Every single one of our vacations has inspired me. Whether it be Bondi Beach, Costa Rica, or even Harbour Island. We actually travel there regularly. It has the most incredible, pink sand.”
If she draws her palette of colors from the seaside, its waves, its dunes, its vegetation; she tries to translate the ocean’s energy and vibrations in the materials that she uses. Always textured, and hand-cut to ensure a perfect fit. “I’ve worn so many different suits that I can feel exactly how much ease is required so that it won’t restrict the body’s natural movement.”
It’s been three years since Marysia and her husband made the decision to leave New York for California. “We wanted our girls to grow up somewhere more peaceful, more calm.” While searching for a home in Malibu, a walk on nearby Venice Beach ultimately led them to their current home, that Marysia has decorated tastefully.
Her days follow the flow of her children’s schedules. She takes them to school in the morning, followed by her workout (alternating between yoga and Pilates) before heading to join her team at her Santa Monica showroom. But all of her actual design work is always done at home.
“I need this closeness to the ocean in my life as much personally as professionally. Its energy is what helps me to move forward, to stay focused and thoughtful. To me, ‘beach attitude’ means feeling connected to the water, swimming (this is vital), feeling the benefits of the salt-water, and doing my part to protect our fragile environment. I regularly take my team and family along on beach walks to pick up all the garbage left behind. It is such a simple act yet so essential, and really gratifying.
But her greatest pride remains knowing that everyone in her family, from her cousins to her nieces are wearing her swimsuits.