By  on February 4, 2002

BATIK PRINTS AND SHEER LOOKS LEND A BREEZY EASE TO THE RESORT/SWIM CATEGORY.

Batik prints are a key look for resort this season, as the category continues to draw inspiration from the flora and fauna of the tropics. Netted and sheer fabrics are also much in evidence, seen in mesh cover-ups, fishnet tops and crocheted swimsuits. Cropped and capri pants remain a mainstay for resortwear, along with breezy and humorous prints. For fall, expect to see grass huts, martini glasses, tropical flowers, planets and pool balls.

As activewear, silhouettes, led by hooded zip jackets and T-shirts, will be slightly fitted but comfortable. Here, a look at what's new.

At Los Angeles-based showroom Ronnie Nathan & Associates, mesh drawstring pants, batik-print sarongs and crocheted swimsuits are some of the latest looks.

Nylon-mesh drawstring pants in solids and prints are a strong point of Ultimate Swimwear's collection, said Ellyce Zolt, a principal with Ronnie Nathan. Wholesale prices for Ultimate Swimwear range from $8 for a solid top or bottom to $15 for a rhinestone-studded printed top.

"The hottest trend that we are getting major reorders on is drawstring pants," Zolt said. "That is the major cover-up that people are buying this year."

Zolt will also show tops and pants in batik and Thai-inspired prints by In Gear, a collection of swimwear cover-ups with an average price of $10.

Athena, a swimsuit line repped by Nathan, is showing spring looks, including soft watercolor prints in blues, reds and pinks and styles with bust-enhancement and tummy-control features. Silhouettes include a soft-cup halter top with a retro hipster bottom, tankinis, long-torso one-pieces and triangle-top bikinis with side-tie bottoms.

In addition, Nathan & Associates manufactures a line of crocheted cotton bikinis called Sassy Swimwear. The collection offers halter tops with a side-tie bottom and a traditional bikini bottom in solid black, cream, red, turquoise and lime. Some of the bikinis are embellished with wooden beads.

Screen-printed and appliqued knits are the focal point at the Tustin, Calif., Weekend Traffic, a casual sportswear collection aimed at women aged 30 to 50.

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