LOS ANGELES — Apparel Ventures Inc., hopes its new line — Playa by La Blanca — launching at the Miami Swim Show July 19, will tighten the gap between junior and misses’ swimwear.

The young contemporary separates line, previewed exclusively for WWDlast week, is the latest for the 27-year-old swimwear maker of La Blanca by Rod Beattie, Sessa and licensed swimwear for Ralph Lauren, Anne Klein, Tommy Bahama and Op. The new line will combine with Op to add about $18 million to AVI’s $90 million in yearly revenue, according to Lynne Koplin, AVI’s president and chief executive.

In step with the swim market’s growing appetite for young contemporary separates, Playa will offer sophisticated styling, modern prints and colors with a retro flair aimed at a core customer of 18 to 24 years old. But designer Rod Beattie insisted, “It’s not about a particular age, it’s about lifestyle. It’s not so matchy-matchy anymore.”

The tops, bottoms, cover-ups and bags wholesale between $20 and $40. Solids, including pink, chocolate brown, pale blue, green and gray, comprise 50 percent of the line, while the print half was inspired by Pucci-style Sixties designs and such California surfer favorites as hibiscus and stripes.

Silhouettes include fixed and slider triangle tops, bandeaux, tankinis, halters, side-tie bikinis and boy-cut briefs. Among the details are leather flowers, scarf ties and metal studs, as well as suede ties and grommets on the cover-ups and accessories.

“This line will offer the styling of a contemporary line like Vix, TNA or Salinas, though with more coverage,” said Koplin, citing Brazilian-inspired lines leading market trends now.

Koplin and Beattie began discussing a contemporary line last year, after observing the high-spending customer bracket shift from women in their 30s and 40s to teens and twentysomethings.

Koplin noted the goal isn’t to cover every trend under the sun, but rather tooffer plenty of stock to retailers. “It’s not about how many separates you put on the floor. The key is replenishment, not introducing a million looks,” she said.

Thus far, the separates market has been more fit-driven than fashion-driven, so Playa’s forward prints and colors should offer buyers the elusive “newness” and “freshness,” they believe. Added Koplin, “We’re not designing for Gwen Stefani, but our customer is pretty savvy.”

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