NEW YORK — Having Leonardo DiCaprio for a boyfriend and landing on the cover of the 2009 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue might be enough for some women, but not Bar Refaeli. The Israeli model has been on a quest to locate just the right swimwear. When she couldn’t find what she wanted, she designed something herself — which she calls the perfect little black bikini — for Hurley.

This story first appeared in the June 2, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

What makes a bikini perfect? Certainly the body of the person wearing it has a lot to do with it. Refaeli said the fit had to be ideal, “small but not too small. In terms of functionality, I wanted it to offer support, be seamless and adjustable so as not to pinch and be quick-drying, which is always a great characteristic.”

As for style, “I wanted something chic, simple and sleek,” she said of the $120 bikini. “I didn’t want to create a suit with a lot of hardware or different elements — so that it would be comfortable and easy to swim in. I wanted my bikini to be classic and timeless…like the little black dress.”

Refaeli, who has modeled swimwear for Christian Audigier, said she brought “all that experience and inspiration to the table for the little black bikini.”

Hurley introduced the bikini on its Web site last month. Starting today, it will also be sold at Victoria’s Secret locations, and Hurley plans to show it at the Miami Beach swimwear trade show in July.

“Victoria’s Secret is a great outlet for swim,” said Selma Taygan, general manager of Hurley. “We did some swimwear with them before. They do other branded products on a smaller scale. We’re very happy that they selected to do the Hurley little black bikini. We are having discussions about other related items such as cover-ups.”

Refaeli began her relationships with Hurley in October, when she walked the runway for the brand’s spring 2009 show during Los Angeles Fashion Week. She has also appeared in an ad campaign for the collection.

Hurley, with its emphasis on board and beach culture, and VS, with its pink-striped shopping bags and feminine-sexy approach, may seem like strange bedfellows. But Taygan said Hurley, whose sweet spot is “the 18-year-old zone,” appeals to customers of VS subbrand Pink. “This is the biggest presence Hurley’s ever had in Victoria’s Secret stores,” she said.

Ten percent of sales of the little black bikini will be donated to Boarding For Breast Cancer, a youth-focused nonprofit that promotes early detection and an active lifestyle as the best preventions for breast cancer.

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