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Currents: Dress Surfing … Guess Again

<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = CS /><CS:BOLD><STRONG>DRESS SURFING</STRONG>: Although Orange County's Mossimo is best known for surf-inspired sportswear, at his new Mossimo Supply store in South Coast Plaza, it's his dress collection that's making...

DRESS SURFING: Although Orange County’s Mossimo is best known for surf-inspired sportswear, at his new Mossimo Supply store in South Coast Plaza, it’s his dress collection that’s making waves.

Bestsellers include:

  • A cotton and Lycra spandex ankle-length dress with low-cut square neckline, cross back straps and side slit. More than 127 have sold at $60 since the store’s December opening.
  • A navy cotton and Lycra ankle-length dress with scoop neck, racer back and two side slits, which sold 18 pieces at $60 in two days.
  • A charcoal rayon A-line baby-doll dress with adjustable slip straps, 24 units at $51 in one week.
  • A black bikini with fiber-filled underwire bra and adjustable lingerie straps, selling 50 units since February at $70.
GUESS AGAIN: Rodeo Drive is getting another Guess.

The company has announced its fourth store on the prestigious — but short — strip.

A new Guess Home Collection store — on the west side of the 400 block — will open later this year, carrying home furnishings, and counting among its neighbors Giorgio Armani, Chanel and Gianni Versace.

Guess’s three other units are Guess Ranch, Baby Guess and Guess Footwear. In addition, there are two Guess boutiques on Santa Monica Boulevard, a half block from Rodeo.

At least one retailer believes the street, which has only 2 1/2 blocks of retail, might be over-Guessed. Herb Fink of Theodore, an early supporter of Guess coming to Rodeo, said he now wonders if the street has gone “Guess-happy.”

“It would have been nice perhaps if they would have it in one building, but four is overwhelming,” said Fink, whose store is sandwiched between the Guess stores. “I wouldn’t want to see four Diors or four Chanels either. It becomes repetitious.”

Guess is not only getting another new store, it’s getting its own swimwear. Designer Robin Piccone provided a preview of some of the 60 new styles she will roll out in July under the Guess Swimwear label.

Piccone, who owns Piccone Apparel and has been known for the Body Glove by Robin Piccone swimwear line since 1985, also produces a signature line of contemporary swimwear and sportswear.

Despite Body Glove’s gross volume in swimwear of $5 million last year, she decided not to renew the licensing agreement last month.

“I took the Body Glove look as far as it could go. People really had a fixed image of the line: the early Eighties surfing image in bright neoprene. With Guess, people won’t expect a certain product,” she said. “There will be fewer restrictions on me as a designer. In most people’s minds, Guess is sexy and American, but it is not associated with a particular style or fabric. I can do denim swimwear, but I am not expected to.”

At $26 to $38 wholesale, the line offers solids and prints in cotton and Lycra spandex. It promises to be “briefer” than Piccone’s signature offerings, she said, and will feature such bra treatments as underwire triangle tops. Details will include floral applique trim, contrast stitching and embroidery. Piccone plans to introduce black and white suits initially and add blue, red, pine green, poppy, celadon and other washed shades for later deliveries.