By  on July 2, 2008

Partnered with a new licensee, Michael Kors is hoping to grow its swim business.

After Warnaco Group Inc. dropped its swim business (minus Speedo) last September, Michael Kors enlisted Swimwear Anywhere Inc. to take over the production of both Michael Kors Collection and Michael Michael Kors swimwear starting for resort.

The new lines are more coordinated with the designer's sportswear, both the high-end and better-priced, using the same fabric patterns and styles as the seasonal collections. Designer Michael Kors will sketch the swim looks as part of his sportswear collection.

"Swim is such an integral part of my design philosophy," Kors said. "It's not about swimwear per se; it's part of my customer's lifestyle."

During the transition from being licensed by Warnaco this spring, much of the Michael Kors swim line has not shipped, according to the designer firm, and there have been wait-lists for the limited amount of product available. The resort line will ship in October, earlier than normal, and Kors expects that pent-up demand from this spring will help propel sales.

The Michael Kors Collection will offer a more extensive collection of swimsuits and cover-ups at slightly higher prices and will have a broader distribution, according to the company. With swimsuits wholesaling from $90 to $140 and cover-ups from $140 to $350, the line will be in about 150 doors, including Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

In addition to the standard bikinis, the collection includes retro sexy one-pieces and high-waisted two-pieces. "The more covered suits are the best of both worlds," Kors said. "On a younger woman, they are unexpected and special. For a more adult woman, she's like, 'Hallelujah.'"

The better-priced Michael Michael Kors line, which features more logos than the high-end collection, is integrating the separates and one-piece lines, which were previously designed separately. The line will wholesale from $84 to $110 and be carried in more than 550 doors, including Macy's and Lord & Taylor.

"The swim is supposed to look like it's seamless with the collections," said Rosemarie DiLorenzo, chief executive officer of Swimwear Anywhere. "How they bring down the MMK [sportswear] line is the same way we will bring it down."Based in Farmingdale, N.Y., the privately held Swimwear Anywhere also holds the swim license for brands including Carmen Marc Valvo and Juicy Couture.

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