NEW YORK — Instead of looking forward to retirement as most executives would after decades of work in a family business, Anne Cole hopes to steal a few secrets from her storied past.

Over the years, Cole of California, the firm her father founded in 1925, suited up starlets like Esther Williams and Marilyn Monroe. Anne Cole knew Christian Dior as a Parisian hired to design a swimwear line for the company and Ronald Reagan as a judge in one of the company’s swimsuit contests. She knew Sharon Stone and Rene Russo as Cole of California models before they were Hollywood actresses.

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