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NAUTICA SERVES: Nautica swimwear is about to take a few dives on the beach instead of in the surf.<br><br>The company has signed two-year endorsement deals with pro volleyball players Elaine Youngs and Misty May. Nautica executives were expected to...

NAUTICA SERVES: Nautica swimwear is about to take a few dives on the beach instead of in the surf.

The company has signed two-year endorsement deals with pro volleyball players Elaine Youngs and Misty May. Nautica executives were expected to announce the deal and the players planned to show their stuff on the sand volleyball court this morning at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.

Youngs and May, who are on different top-ranked teams, will compete in Nautica. Now that NBC and Fox are airing pro volleyball tournaments, there is more interest among apparel sponsors, Youngs’ agent Sue Rodin said.

ON THEIR TOES: Danskin decked out dancers for the New York City Ballet Workout 2, an exercise video and DVD to be released Tuesday. The brand expects to pick up some new customers considering 180,000 units of the first installment were sold worldwide.

WADING AT HOME: Norma Kamali has seen swimwear sales increase by 25 percent since fall 2001 thanks to her shop-like-a-celebrity-service.

The designer’s online catalogs are periodically e-mailed to clients who then can have items sent overnight to their homes. They have 48 hours to try on and return garments. Design Your Own Swimwear, Editors’ choice Swimwear and Poly Jersey Swimwear are among the three swimwear catalogs that have been sent out this year to thousands of shoppers. The latter features two pieces from the current “Goddess” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Kamali said: “The online catalogs allow clients to view all the sites available for each season, with information about fit and color, as well as tips on how to pick the best swimsuit.”

Sportswear catalogs are also offered via e-mail.

STAR STRUCK: Jeffrey Grubb, the designer behind FAL and FAL Active, has taken to celebrity power.

Madonna has agreed to have her image stamped on FAL cashmere or cotton T-shirts to be sold to benefit Lifebeat, a nonprofit group helping to fight AIDS. The launch is set for July 18 at Jimmy’s boutique in East Hampton, N.Y., where 10 autographed versions will be auctioned. The Material Girl offered her services after hearing about the project, Grubb said.

This story first appeared in the May 22, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

During a special appearance at the Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills last month, Grubb ran into old friend Wayne Scot Lucas. The stylist purchased all 16 units of FAL’s $95 white mesh messenger vests for his client, Justin Timberlake. The pop star sports it in the opening act of his Justified and Stripped tour.

Later last month, Grubb met up again with Lucas, who this time was accompanied by Janet Jackson, another client, at the New York premiere of “The Matrix Reloaded.” Grubb later gave Jackson a FAL Italian “moth mesh” white top to wear to last week’s premiere of the sci-fi flick.

Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey and John Leguizamo are also on Grubb’s list for product placement. Gloria Estefan prefers to be a paying customer in Miami stores. Kim Basinger is said to wear FAL knits in her new flick with Jeff Bridges, “A Door in the Floor.”

FAL is now being sold at Belle Gray, a Studio City, Calif., store run by “Days of Our Lives” star Lisa Rinna.