• U.S.

FASHION: In the Swim

2 minute read

For most of the U.S., September is a time for packing bathing suits away for the winter. Not so for California’s Fred Cole. Last week he was showing off his Cole of California swimming gear for the 1951 season.

When Cole first got into the swim (in 1926), he startled the entire bathing suit industry by lowering the backs of his knit swimsuits by eight inches (and raising the blood pressure of various municipal censors). Later he put out white bathing suits, which were considered daring at the time because of their alleged transparency when wet. Since then, he has built a $3,500,000 annual business with 1,000 retail outlets in the U.S. and seven foreign countries, and likes to think that he sets the style trends for the bathing suit industry.

If so, next year’s bathing suits will be conservative (see cut). Cole has little but scorn for France’s famed Bikini bathing suits. Explains he: “French girls, have short legs. Swimsuits have to be hiked up at the sides to make their legs look longer.” Cole’s new bathing suits, as form-fitting as ever, go in heavily for vertical patterns to help the wearer look slim. The brightest eye catcher on display was a lace & jersey suit sparkling with 24-karat gold. Price: $70.

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