Agarage door is lifted at 11 a.m., revealing glass windows that show a slice of paradise inside a Fort Lauderdale boutique. The storefront is light pink with a black-and-white striped awning, and “Montce Swim” is visible in black lettering above it. Soon, locals coming out of next-door fitness studios and coffee shops will stumble upon the swimwear store, while cult followers will navigate the bustling Flagler Village in order to snag one of Alexandra Grief’s designs.
The Fort Lauderdale native and founder of Montce Swim has gained a massive following not only in South Florida but across the country through appearances at Miami Swim Week and celebrities donning her creative bikinis. What started as an interest in drawing and painting as a child turned into a passion for design.
“Then swimwear started because I was surfing since I was in middle school, and I always loved all the surf brands and how they do their whole shoot and the vibe and traveling, so it kind of all came together,” Grief says.
Early on, customers would visit her apartment to try on bikinis. Today, she has upgraded from a small space at a shopping center that opened in 2011 to her newer, roomier location in Flagler Village. (There’s also a Montce Swim location in Hermosa Beach, California.)
Racks of swimwear fill the store in addition to accessories and fun gift ideas. Shop Quay Australia sunglasses, Vanessa Mooney jewelry, Melissa beach slides, beach hats, yoga mats, coverups and more.
But what’s most remarkable are the collections of swimwear Grief designed herself after months of finding inspiration, creating mood boards and executing her vision.
The suits are “super fit-focused” and come in an array of fabrics and textures, including a saffron floral print from France. What Grief says she enjoys most about the line is that each piece is built based on functionality and can be worn not only as a bathing suit but also with other wardrobe staples.
And while the bathing suit market in South Florida might seem saturated, what sets Grief’s designs apart from the rest is her emphasis on costumers and their comfort. “I personally try on every single bikini to pass it into production in my size. We’re about to do a fitting with the girls right now with the new collection and check in on different sizes,” she says. “That’s everything to me.”
The 2018 resort wear collection is safari-inspired mixed in with what Grief calls “’90s supermodel grunge.” Styles include the Mocha Cheetah Repeat Private Beach one-piece; Saffron Floral Cabana top; Leopard Print Uno bottom; Black Faux Suede wrap top; High-Rise Cappuccino bottom and more. Come summer, find light, airy styles featuring soft florals and specialty capsule collections along the way.
Montce Swim, 731 NE Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale / 954.440.2522 / montce.com