The Cover-up

Consider this – a real dress. To the beach, you say? No way. No, listen.

Bali-15 tatoandmemi-2

Straight up, and down the line, I have never understood the humble cover-up. It knows this. How a sheer or open-knit square ‘covers’ anything is beyond me – indeed, there are times when I would find the resultant peekaboo marginally more offensive than baring the world’s smallest bikini. Besides, buying swimwear that would prompt the inclination to cover-up is perhaps not the most economically viable – cost-per-wear doesn’t count if it may as well not be there (except, maybe, in the case of lingerie… but that’s another conversation).

It is true, though, that social situations outside of solitary sea or poolside lounging do call for a something a little more than nothing at all – and ladies, ladies, I’ve seen it all. The first and oft adopted BBQ-by-body-of-water  approach involves your boyfriend’s t-shirt and uncomfortably boob-shaped patches of boob pool/sea water with nowhere to run nor hide, and very little H&M X Margiela appeal. Inject any kind of torn up denim shorties, and you have the same circus on your backside. A flimsy mesh something or white t-shirt if you dare leaves far too little to the imagination, and a bathrobe, nothing at all. Toilet jokes at your expense are plentiful, and this is all a very stressful experience.

Now consider this – a real dress. To the beach, you say? No way. No, listen. Not your strapless, multi-layered, taffeta, origami, sugar-coated debutant affair. Find that dress in your wardrobe that always requires nude underwear and nipple pasties (or bandaids), with no shoulder or leg restriction, and short or sturdy enough to walk flat-footed. Then, wear your darkest, brightest, most patterned swimwear desired and in response to any comments that your dress is see through, I’m at the beach. DUH.

I told you. Foolproof.*

I do not, however, claim responsibility for those awkward boob and backside patches – here, it seems that my right shoulder blade and clavicle have both wet themselves. Perhaps I should have opted for something more backless and unpatchable than Tinkerbell.

But, I’m cool with it if you are.**

Unspoken Dress – Seafolly Bikini – Urbanears Headphones in Olive – Amaleia Coral Earrings – ASOS Rings – BlackBerry Z10

photos by Camille Charrière, editing by Margaret Zhang

The Balé booked via The Luxe NomadNikon D600 and 85mm from digiDIRECT

*Except for the drycleaning, which I would recommend if seawater is part of your sunny occasion…

** I would also ask that you be cool with my mosquito bites.


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese director, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Margaret has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, UNIQLO, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Margaret’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, GRAZIA and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for the past four consecutive years. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim.

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