You won't find our girls in a basic bikini, we're just not a basic city; DAWN COLLINSON talks to the designer of high-end beach party wear, scrunchy bum.
MILLIONS of fans admire Kim Kardashian's incredible super-curvy bum, but Liverpool designer Jessica Stefanou has gone one step further it's inspired her to start her own swimwear business.
Bootilicious bottoms like Kim's, Jennifer Lopez's and Nicki Minaj's have become a big fashion asset and sparked the idea for Jessica's stunning Scrunchy Bum collection.
The 27-year-old, who lives in Bootle, wanted to create a sexy, high-end range of bikinis, costumes and thongs like the ones worn at the world's most glamorous resorts and beach clubs.
She explains: "About four years ago I was on holiday in Miami and saw all these amazing costumes. I thought mine looked awful compared to what these girls were wearing, I'd never seen anything like them.
"They were all blinged up and they all looked like they had really amazing bums. It was at the time when bums were just coming into fashion, J-Lo started it and then Kim Kardashian obviously took it to another level and put bums on the map.
"I spoke to the girls and asked them what they were called and where they bought them and they said it was a design called scrunch butt. It's a particular style of bikini - a heart shaped back with a ruched middle, as opposed to the Kim Kardashian, who has made the bum big traditional triangle shape - that originated in Brazil and then moved to America.
"Now, over there, things have moved on and in Brazil they hardly wear anything, and in America they have something called swimgerie which is swimwear which looks like lingerie. We're not close to that in England, but I thought we were definitely ready for the scrunch butt and where better to launch a glamorous celebrity-inspired fashion range than in Liverpool?" Jessica, who was born in Greece but moved to Liverpool when she was five, decided to pursue her business idea after searching for somewhere in this country to buy the scrunch butt bikinis.
"I couldn't find them and ended up importing them from America which cost me a fortune in taxes on top of what I'd paid. I thought, why don't I just do this myself?" She has no background in fashion - "apart from shopping!" - and will actually qualify as a solicitor by the end of the year. But she was determined to give the idea a try and, after renaming it Scrunchy Bum for a British market, she went part time at her city centre law firm to focus on the collection.
She does all the designing herself and has everything made in the same factory in Wales which makes Agent Provocateur lingerie.
After launching in November last year, Scrunchy Bum not only has a website but has just moved its swimwear that isn't for swimming into Rex Concept Store on Bold Street. Jessica's collection, which includes Swarovski crystals, fresh water pearls and French lace, will feature in next month's issue of Cosmopolitan and she's preparing for the start of the summer party season.
"Girls all want designer swimwear thanks to the rise of the day parties in Ibiza, Marbella and Vegas where there can be a strict dress code on pool attire - unless you have what they call a highclass bikini, you're not coming in," she says.
"And you're not going to pay PS80 to get into a beach club and rock up in a PS30 River Island bikini, even if it is amazing, because every other girl is in one. It's all about who stands out. My designs aren't for wallflowers, they're party bikinis, and they make girls look and feel great.
"They're basically a push-up bra for your bum. It's all about the cut as well, every one of my styles has a high-cut leg which is back now because it's so flattering."
Jessica says Liverpool girls' love of glamour means she expects to see plenty of Scouse Scrunchy Bums this summer.
"Just about everyone I know is going to Ibiza or Vegas or Marbella, it's like Scousers on tour!" she jokes. "And everyone wants to be looking just as good in the day as in the night time, in a full face of make-up, curly blow, gorgeous bikini and high heels. "You won't find them in basic bikinis because we're just not a basic city."
| Scrunchy Bum designs are available at www.scrunchybum.com/or from Rex Concept on Bold St.
A Scrunchy Bum bikini
Scrunchy Bum beachwear is perfect for holiday pool parties