By  on April 3, 2008

Nicole Miller is diving further into swim for resort 2009.

Having always dabbled in swim on its own, the New York-based ready-to-wear company is making the leap to create two full swimwear lines under the labels Nicole Miller Collection and Nicole by Nicole Miller. The firm signed a license with Christina America Inc., a division of Swim Expert Alliance, best known for producing Gottex.

"We've been in the bathing suit business since way back in the Eighties, since we had Tyra Banks on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue — the problem was we only made five of that suit," said Bud Konheim, president and chief executive officer of Nicole Miller. "Nicole has always made great bathing suits that have gotten great press — the last one was on Martha Stewart's show — but the patternmaking alone is the most intensive thing we've ever done. We realized this business is so specialized that we couldn't do it right ourselves, and we needed a partner."

Although the wholesale prices for the new lines and the door count have not been finalized, Konheim said he expects that the prices for the Nicole Miller Collection probably will be in sync with the $60 to $70 wholesale range of the capsule line of suits Nicole Miller sells in its own stores, and that swim will likely be picked up by a quarter of the 1,200 doors that carry Nicole Miller dresses. He expects first-year wholesale volume for the Nicole Miller Collection swimsuit line to be around $3 million. The line will be shown at Christina America's showroom, at 1411 Broadway in New York.

Nicole by Nicole Miller is a less expensive exclusive brand for J.C. Penney. Because Penney's lead time is longer than that of specialty stores, the diffusion line won't kick off for another year.

"With our prints, I've always felt there was a big opportunity for us to do swim," added Nicole Miller. "I have a strong opinion about how swimsuits should be cut — like my dresses — sexy and flattering, like body camouflage."

The swim lines will feature prints from Miller's studio collection, and will put patterns not only on bikinis, but also one-pieces and tankinis, the designer said.In the last year, Nicole Miller has added licenses for lingerie, outerwear, fragrance and legwear, and the designer said she still has eyes on children's wear.

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