About the Author
Serg Riva is the highest-paid swimwear designer in the world, yet he is hardly a household name. Only the super-rich can afford his services, and only the most dedicated followers of fashion can spot his work out in the wild. If you see a Serg Riva design on an internet auction site, it is likely a fake-but if you see one up for sale at Sotheby's, by all means break out your paddle. Born on horseback into the agricultural lower-middle-class of rural Oregon, Serg Riva began life as Stuart Kenton. He showed no particular interest in becoming a designer as a child, and there was nothing much in his youth to suggest he would apply his artistic talents to fashion, but he was, even at a young age, unmistakably chic. At eighteen, about to leave home for college, he looked like a cinematic version of the most beautiful ice fisherman in Alaska, or the best dressed prisoner in jail. With no money for clothes, he transformed thrift store castaways into sartorial treasures: first by mending, then by tailoring, but mainly through attitude and confidence. What began as a necessity became a vocabulary used to enact a dialogue between the garment and the body. Built like a lumberjack, nimble like a dancer, handsome as a thief, and tailored like a prince, cars would slow as he walked and heads would turn with curiosity, envy, or desire. Within two years of graduating from college, Serg had established himself as one of the brightest stars in apparel design. He chose swimwear as his dedicated métier because no one else took it seriously. He reasoned that he could either become just another name in a long line of women's wear designers, or he could become the first and greatest designer of couture swimwear. He chose to become an aquatic couturier and the Serg Riva atelier was born. Serg Riva evolved from merely servicing the wealthiest clients of couture to providing them with an operatic escape. Similar to the way a choreographer makes a ballet upon a prima ballerina, a Serg Riva suit is not crafted from a pre-existing idea to fit a particular client's body, but is instead imagined and created on the woman herself; the woman becomes the vehicle for expression. His commitment to designing for one woman at a time was the key to building the most luxurious swimwear atelier on the planet.