PATTI LYNN GETS IN THE SWIM

Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK — Patti Lynn Compton is getting into the swimwear business in a roundabout way.
Instead of pitching her new Patti Lynn line to swim specialty stores, she is focusing on sportswear stores like Jill Roberts in Beverly Hills and Fred Segal in Los Angeles. The plan is to focus on stores that do not offer much swimwear.
Geared for the poolside more than beachside, Lyons’ debut collection consists of solids, not playful prints. Khaki, olive, navy, red and black are some of the shades in her standard color wave.
Compton, who previously worked in advertising for the entertainment industry, said she has always wanted to design swimwear. Before creating her line, she took a good look at swimsuits worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and others in the Fifties and early Sixties and tried to recreate some of that glamour.
“They looked more elegant and their suits had more coverage,” Compton said. “The idea with my line is to show a little less skin to be a little more demure.”
A strapless swimdress, string bikini and trikini — a bikini bottom that can be worn with a triangle top or a tankini top — are among the offerings. Each suit has two layers of fabric instead of spandex liners, and silhouettes offer more coverage without looking dowdy. Bikinis, for example, are low-waisted, but amply cover the hips and derriere. Wholesale prices range from a $60 basic two-piece to a $90 trikini.
“I think of the line more as clothing. I picture it with dresses, purses and shoes,” she said. “I’ve never attempted to sell to swim stores.”
Nicole Dinielli, general manager of Jill Roberts, one of the 14 stores carrying the line this spring, expects it to be popular with young and older customers, since it offers a slightly more conservative cut.
“It’s a great alternative to the tie-side suits,” she said. “The colors are great and they use heavier-weight fabrics.”