PROFILE: Q&A With GIGI C Bikinis Founder Gigi Caruso
Written by Melissa Troeller
If you look across the pool at Rosewood Miramar Beach and see a girl in a sporty chic swimsuit with laser-cut details, chances are it’s Gigi Caruso, designer of GIGI C. In 2017, mother-daughter duo Tina and Gigi Caruso brought to the market modern swimwear that encompasses luxury designs and functionality (read: suits as perfect for surfing as they are for tanning). GIGI C has since launched activewear and will soon branch out into resort wear. With summer around the corner we spoke with business owner and student Gigi about her latest collection, future plans, and drawing inspiration from Santa Barbara.
What made you decide to create a bikini label?
I created GIGI C because I couldn’t find a swimsuit that could do it all—look fashionable and be functional. We have kept that need for fashion and function in mind while developing each collection and expanding into activewear.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My mom is a former swimsuit model, so were both of my grandmothers. Together we referenced her modeling photos for inspiration by redesigning the classic styles she wore with fresh modern twists. I began deconstructing some of her old swimsuits and refashioning them into chic styles that evolved into our brand’s signature aesthetic, which includes clean lines, architectural shapes, and crisp, laser-cut details.
How would you describe your GIGI C in one word?
When designing a bikini what do you strive for?
When designing for GIGI C it’s become more and more clear what our brand stands for. A priority is making sure that new styles embody our GIGI C signature mix of sturdy and stylish. I find myself often gravitating towards brighter colors for our summer collection and focusing on monochromatic looks for our resort collection. Whatever the season, it has to be bold with a hint of athleticism and most importantly it has to feel good on the body.
What advice would you give to someone looking for the perfect bikini?
We spend so much time making sure that our suits fit well, feel good and hold their durability. I always recommend that people start by trying our Riley Surfsuit. It’s my go-to!
What is special about your Resort 2021 collection?
It’s inspired by Bora Bora, the very first location we shot at for GIGI C. This still stands as my favorite shoot we've done.The color Deep Sea emulates the blue waters and the white sand beaches inspired the snakeskin jacquard fabric used in both swim and sport from our Resort 21 Collection.
How did you branch into activewear?
Initially, I planned to keep GIGI C as just a swimwear company but when Carbon38 approached us with the idea of developing a sport exclusive it seemed like the perfect pairing. They are true experts in the category and it meant so much to me that they believed in me and my brand to work together. It turned out that we found a unique sport fabric that we can laser-cut beautifully, and that made it possible to produce the GIGI C Sport Collection with our signature laser-cut details.
How has Santa Barbara inspired Gigi C?
My getaways to Santa Barbara inspired me to expand into resort wear, which we hope to launch by the end of this year. I feel a gap in this market when I am shopping for a vacation and want pieces to easily slip on and style with a swimsuit. The GIGI C Resort Wear Collection will feature pieces you can throw on at the beach and transition into a dinner outfit as well.
What are your favorite things to do here in Santa Barbara?
I absolutely love weekend getaways to Santa Barbra. When I am there I spend most of my time at Rosewood Miramar Beach. Being on the beach and by the water gives me a sense of calm after a crazy week of juggling running a business and school.