Byline: Emily Holt

LOS ANGELES — Swimwear designer Jennifer Schuman has been obsessed with bikinis ever since she was a child. Indeed, she used to wear bikinis under her high-school uniform, making it easier to lay out under the sun at every chance she could get.
“I grew up in a bikini,” said the 27-year-old Schuman. “And swimwear, as silly as it sounds, has always been my dream.”
Schuman didn’t dive into swim immediately. After graduating from the University of Denver with degrees in psychology and communications, Schuman spent four years working as an interior-design assistant, and then worked for a small Los Angeles-based clothing manufacturer, where she did everything from sewing buttons to packing and shipping.
She finally returned to her first love, however, and launched her swimwear collection, Luce di Sole, in the spring of 1999.
The collection is done primarily in bright colors. All bodies are cut to fit low on the hips or to scoop low in back, exposing the sway of the back. Each piece in the line also features a signature detail; for spring, it was a small mother-of-pearl button. Her one-piece design with a low-scooped, open tie back comes in colors such as baby blue tipped with white or pink tipped with red.
Of her two-piece designs, the boy-cut short with tiny back pockets and a string-tie top is the most popular, Schuman said. Her other, more traditional string bikini comes in pink, baby blue and lemon yellow, all available with contrast tipping or paired with madras plaid bottoms.
Schuman’s cruise collection will include black and gold combinations and will also feature offerings in a multicolor striped fabric.
The Luce di Sole line wholesales from $45 to $58. Aimed at women in their mid-20s to 40s, Luce di Sole sells to about 30 accounts, including Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Fred Segal and Planet Blue in Malibu, Calif.
Schuman estimates that this year’s wholesale volume should hit at about $300,000.
“The quality, style, design and fabrics are amazing,” said Kathy Klein of Lulue, a specialty store in Mahattan Beach, Calif. “We place one reorder after another. We’ve put her suits on display in the window, and they always draw customers in.”

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