Photos: Larsen & Talbert
Architect-turned-fashion-designer Patricia Brett talks about creating sexy, flattering swimwear for an overlooked market: women who've had mastectomies.
O: Your swimsuit line is called Veronica Brett—who is she?
Patricia Brett: She was my father's youngest sister, who died of breast cancer at age 44. I wanted the line to reflect Veronica's elegance and optimism.
O: Why did you start a swimwear company?
PB: When my niece, Gabe, scheduled her mastectomy [like Brett, she underwent a preventive bilateral mastectomy after testing positive for harmful mutations in the BRCA1 gene], she was at peace with her decision. But she'd vent about her swimsuit options: "They look like something out of the '50s!" I also surveyed more than 400 breast cancer survivors, and they felt a lot like Gabe did. That's when I got out my sketchbook.
O: How are Veronica Brett suits different?
PB: We have three one-piece styles—halter, wrap, and bandeau—that address various issues. They all have thicker, more supportive fabric than typical swimsuits, but they're sexy and flattering, not matronly—they're cut higher on the leg and scoop lower in the back than other postmastectomy suits.
O: What's your next goal for the line?
PB: Postmastectomy apparel is sold mostly in medical shops and cancer hospital boutiques. We have VeronicaBrett.com, but I'd like women to find what they need at Neiman Marcus and Saks, too. I want to remove the stigma.
Strong vertical lines and front-lacing design attract the eye upward toward the face.
Front diagonals flatter larger reconstructed breasts, while side-shirring slims a fuller figure.
Side panels help cover scars and neck strap gives added support.
Suits, $198 each; VeronicaBrett.com
More stylish swimsuits to wear after surgery
From the August 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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