SWIMSUIT MAKERS BET ON EARLY SHIPMENTS
Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio
NEW YORK — Given the promotional frenzy that hits stores even before Memorial Day weekend, swimsuit makers are looking to increase the shelf life of the suit.
One strategy that’s gaining ground is the introduction of a spring collection, which hits the stores in March and April. This new delivery is becoming more important as the preview season, which typically runs from May to June, has lost some of its luster. Swimwear makers say it competes with the marked-down suits from cruise.
One of the latest to launch a spring collection is designer Anne Cole, whose line, which bears her name, is marketed by Authentic Fitness Corp.
“We are trying to give the stores a fresh injection of fashion,” said Cole, who will introduce 16 spring styles to stores this March.
The designs include pleated tricot and mesh in such colors as garnet red, blues and blacks. The line will be in Saks Fifth Avenue, Everything But Water, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.
Cole will continue with her preview group, or what she calls her summer collection, though she has pared it down. The line will now include 12 to 15 styles, compared to 20 to 25 styles in previous years.
The summer line includes halter tops and bandeaus in bright greens and blues and will be shipped to stores by May 30, she said.
Mainstream Inc., a marketer of misses’ swimsuits, is also launching its first spring collection with a small group of 10 styles that feature designs with weskit styles and high necks. The designs combine black with hot colors.
“We want to build on the successes of the season,” said Peter Rubin, president.
Rubin is using the preview collection as a test for next year.
“If it sells well at full price, then I know we have a winner for next year,” he said.
Adrienne Vittadini, which is licensed by OAS Industries, has long abandoned preview and has stuck with cruise and spring. However, for the 1997 cruise season, Vittadini has decided to get an early start and will deliver suits in July, as opposed to September.
“We will be able to offer newness to the stores and we’ll get an early start on what is checking and what’s not,” said Rosemary DiLorenzo, president of OAS Industries. “Preview is too limited — it offers a window of only two months, and so if you have a winner, you just can’t run with it.”