Corset swimsuits hot on NY fashion runways

Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:45pm EDT
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By Jan Paschal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Corset swimsuits and vintage halter styles will give women a firm foundation next spring and summer, judging from the swimwear designs on New York's fashion runways.

While full clothing lines dominate collections at the semi-annual Fashion Week, designers such as U.S.-based Norma Kamali, Israel's Gottex and Brazil's Rosa Cha are best known for the swimwear they show to the thousands of retailers, buyers and media on hand to see what looks are on offer for next spring and summer.

"The structure is what's important, the construction of the swimwear," Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch told Reuters before making his swimwear debut with Sao Paulo-based label Rosa Cha.

"It's a little bit of underwear," he said of the inspiration for his chambray corset one-piece suits. "What to hide, what to show -- the perfect fit for different kinds of bodies."

His retro two-piece suits, which pair high-waisted bottoms with halter or bandeau tops, evoke Hollywood movie stars of the 1940s and 1950s.

Fashion labels and retailers have been hit hard by recession, and Kamali said swimwear's shape fits the times.

"With our economy and our security so threatened, anorexia doesn't have a place any more," Kamali told Reuters. "It will give way to a healthy, fit body. It can have curves. It's geared to survival."

Kamali is known for bringing Hollywood-style glamour to swimwear, especially with her top-selling swimsuit, the "Bill," a one-piece halter that retails for $350.   Continued...