NEW YORK - Victoria's Secret has gone from the boudoir to the beach with its first dedicated swimwear catalog - Swimwear Edition '94.
Photographed by Mark Hispard and Richard Bailey on the private Virgin Island of St. James, the catalog features models Elle Macpherson, Frederique Van Der Wel and Judit Masco in 52 pages of swimsuits, cover-ups and a small selection of spring and summer apparel.
The Victoria's Secret Catalog, a division of The Limited Inc., has offered some swimwear in its spring editions for about five years. With swimwear sales more than doubling in 1992 and 1993, the lingerie manufacturer decided to expand more aggressively.
"Our swimsuit sales got progressively stronger," said Cynthia Fedus, president of Victoria's Secret catalog, "and we thought now is the time to do an issue devoted to swimwear."
The new catalog offers the Columbus, Ohio-based company's signature collection along with those of Mossimo, Gottex, Sunset Beach by California, Tango Rose, Citrus, Jantzen, Baja Blue, Calvin Klein, La Blanca, Anne Klein and Keiko.
Swimwear made up only 10 percent of the merchandise mix in the traditional lingerie catalog, and the company said it expects a 50 percent increase in its swimwear sales with the new offering - making Victoria's Secret a "significant player in the estimated $150 million to $200 million quality swimwear mail-order market."
Victoria's Secret declined to give any sales projections for the venture. However, Fedus noted that sales were significantly ahead of plan. "We had a reasonably aggressive plan and we are beating it," she said.
The catalog features 37 different styles of bikinis and one-piece suits in bright solid colors, novelty accents and innovative prints. A section called "Swim Separates" allows customers to create a custom-fit bikini by mixing sizes and silhouettes from three tops and three bottoms.
The catalog, slated to become an annual issue, was mailed this month.
"This has much the same feel as the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue," said one swimwear manufacturer. "But Sports Illustrated is frustrating for the consumer because the suits are generally not for sale; with this they can just call an 800 number."
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