NEW YORK — After five years of wading in the swimwear market, Chaiken is finally diving in.
The company has periodically provided swimsuits for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition photo shoots and to select specialty stores. But this spring will mark the debut of the brand’s first swimwear collection.
Designer Jeff Mahshie said he drew inspiration from Cheryl Tiegs and Brigitte Bardot for the collection, which has “an American feel and a European flair.” He also pays homage to his mentor, Giorgio Sant’Angelo, for whom he worked in the late Eighties.
“When I first started here we dabbled in swimwear as a way to slowly build the brand and give it an editorial edge,” he said. “Swimwear has always been featured in our runway shows. Our retailers are looking for us to do extended products.”
During a recent trip to India, where one-piece swimsuits are required due to dress codes, he brushed up on variety designs. The line features such one-piece styles as a corset maillot and a tie bandeau maillot, as well as string bandeau bikinis.
In February, the collection ships to 15 specialty stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Bloomingdale’s. Retail prices range from $110 to $140. Suits are offered in black, white, fuchsia, coral, purple, gray, yellow and a coral zebra print.
First-year projected wholesale volume is $500,000. The company plans to license swimwear once the business is up and running, founder Julie Chaiken said.
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