By  on May 11, 1994

NEW YORK -- About 200 shoppers and industry people turned out for a fashion show and cocktail party last week to officially launch the expanded swimwear department at Macy's Herald Square flagship.

The event, underscoring Macy's new commitment to designer swimwear, was attended by Anne Cole, Michael Kors, Robin Piccone and Karla Colletto. Their swimwear was among the 16 designer lines in the fashion show.

The festivities apparently rubbed off on the cash registers, with sources reporting the next-day volume showing about a 60 percent gain over the same day a year earlier.

As reported, space for the sixth-floor department was increased 15 percent, to 12,000 square feet, with a major push in designer suits. Designer labels now take up 5,000 square feet of the space. In addition, there is a 600-square-foot shop for Calvin Klein.

"We have a huge base in contemporary swimwear," said Benny Lin, fashion director for Macy's East. "But there is an explosion at the designer level. It gives us the additional volume we needed."

Lin said among the best-selling suits following the launch were Gottex's silver one-piece, retailing for $100, Calvin Klein's triple X-back in an assortment of colors at $88, Anne Cole's one-piece illusion suit in black or white at $66, Michael Kors's white shadow stripe one-piece at $88 and Liza Bruce's one-piece orange and fuchsia tank in matte crepe at $112. Anne Cole said it was good that Macy's was paying more attention to designer swimwear, adding, "Women will pay for good merchandise."

The enlarged department was also applauded by fledgling swimwear makers Loren Laney and Bradford Moody, owners and designers of the eight-month-old company Swim New York Ltd., which is carried at Macy's.

"It was nice to get all of those designers together for an in-store event," said Laney, who spent eight years as a senior fashion editor at Elle magazine before starting Swim with Moody. "I haven't seen that kind of push in swimwear."

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