Byline: Kristi Ellis

LOS ANGELES — Dots, animal prints, embellishments, and triangle and bandeau tops grabbed buyers’ attention at the pre-International Swimwear and Activewear Market at the CaliforniaMart, which ran April 10-11.
Specialty stores used the two-day market to pick up new lines for summer while manufacturers tested the water with the launch of their cruise 2001 lines.
Monarch Knits, which broke its licensed Rampage swim line, capitalized on four trends: animal prints, dots, sherbets and embellishment, according to Howard Greller, executive vice president.
Greller noted that sherbet colors like bright mangoes, aquas and pinks did well in silhouettes ranging from boy legs to unconstructed cropped tops, bandeaux and triangles.
Best-selling suits included a pastel kiwi python print one-piece suit with a cutaway back, dots in pink with orange and green with yellow combinations and a bikini with lace trim in turquoise and pink or green and orange.
Helmut Behensky, owner of Bea’s Swimwear, a division of Be Dye Swimwear based in Northridge, Calif., said he planned to pick up Rampage as a new resource.
Behensky, who was shopping for three stores that carry swim, resort and beachwear, said he is tapping into embellishments and snake prints.
“Swimwear is becoming sportswear-compatible,” said Behensky.
He noted that swimwear is less constructed in the misses’ department while it has more of a constructed look in juniors. Among the hottest selling silhouettes are triangle tops, unconstructed and constructed bandeaux and sports bras. He said that European hipster bottoms are also catching on.
At the moment, Behensky’s top-selling lines are Mossimo separates, Point Conception and Sunsets.
“Separates are driving the business,” he said, adding that they account for 70 percent of his inventory.
Arnie Gale, senior vice president of marketing for Beach Patrol, sells primarily to specialty stores with a year-round business.
Business is up by 20 percent in the junior swimwear category, Gale said. Beach Patrol’s junior business is done under the Daffy, Tango Rose, Rebel Beach and Esprit labels.
“Everyone is having a good junior swimwear year,” he said, noting that prints are one of the key reasons for the buoyant business.
Mixed prints, like those on Custo’s tops, are doing well, but buyers are also looking for solid colors — reds, pinks, oranges.
Shine is selling with a bohemian/Indian influence in silver and gold metallic.
He added that the triangle with tie side is big while the tubekini — a low-slung surf pant — is “unbelievable.”
In the misses’ and contemporary categories, Beach Patrol had a strong market with Baja Blue’s sweet tart candy colors, including cherry, rose, tide blue and banana, and a soft-cup crop top with a tie back and side-tie pants with detailing on the bottoms.
“We’re also seeing a lot of embellishment, including a vintage embroidered daisy voile cover-up,” said Gale.
“There’s no black in sight. There’s lots of detailing and lots of print, and we’ve gotten a strong reaction throughout,” he said.
Activewear is strong in the Jag line. Gale said tankinis are popular, especially in large sizes.
“Everyone has gone for it because they can’t find large sizes at a contemporary level,” he said.
Tie dye, in the halter tankinis with string bottoms, is also a big seller.
In separates in the Swimwear Systems line, bohemian influences like paisley prints, apron tie-backs and crop tops are strong. Skirted bottoms are also important.