In California, where swimming pool society has almost a nonstop season in the sun to splash through, the bathing suit industry has now evolved a year-round, nonstop, four-season cycle which supplies most of the world. The California industry keeps a lion's share—$60 million worth—of the booming bathing suit business with such Hollywood tricks as lavish style shows, celebrity appearances—Esther Williams for Cole, Florence Chadwick for Catalina (sponsors of the Miss Universe contest)—and design which is responsive to the dictates of New York and Paris haute couture. The West Coast's eminence in the field is based on a 40-year history which began in 1913 when Jantzen of Portland, Oregon designed a suit "to change bathing to swimming." Jantzen now has plants in 11 different countries. California swimsuit makers have an impressive list of innovations. Dancer Mabs Barnes first used lastex, a corset fabric, for a bathing suit that clung and moved with the figure. Fred Cole developed Matletex, cotton stitched with elastic thread, leading to strapless tops and matching skirts and beach coats. Rose Marie Reid developed the inside bra and flexible spiral stays in strapless suits. Catalina pioneered knitted suits and "sweetheart sets." Gantner was an early manufacturer of wool knit suits. Caltex, a young firm in the old tradition, is pioneering new elasticized fabrics. Scientific thoroughness, in addition to styling, has kept the West Coast at the top of the bathing suit market. Its bathing suits are probably the most tested garments (opposite) in the apparel industry: fabrics are laboratory tested for color fastness in sun and chlorine, for abrasive resistance, for swimability. This winter, following current fashion, long slim torsos with high necklines and unaccented waistlines are teamed with Oriental prints and colors.
Inspection by Jantzen's design staff at Portland has Vice-President Mayer Monroe, Louella Ballerino, George McCormick, Phyllis Carlson, Elizabeth Timmons and Maurice Levin viewing Models Karen Langness and Karlyn Eyolfson with critical eyes.
Pool-Testing of suits for color fastness and water fitness is supervised by Designer Rose Marie Reid at her Los Angeles plant.
High-Neckline maillot worn by Jo-Anne Aehle is from Cole of California's Egyptian collection which will be available in stores in December. The top can be neatly tucked in for sunning ($12.95).
November 28, 1955
V-Neckline suit shows a new trend away from the long-familiar low-cut strapless tops. Patt Quinn wears Caltex's "Fire Cracker" suit of delicate pastel-striped elasticized bouclé ($22.95).
Two-Piece suit with divided skirt, favored for 1956 for junior sizes, is about as close as American market gets to Bikini. Katie Richmond wears Catalina's suit with gold Oriental print ($12.95).
French inspired suit from Jantzen's international collection is copy of a Riviera bestseller. Its hugging fit is achieved with an elasticized knit fabric called Helanca ($22.50). On Suzy Ruel.
Long-Torso suit of brilliant tea-flower print cotton from Gantner ($14.95) is worn by Starlet Rosemarie Bowe. The sculptured swimming pool is at Holm-by Hills home of Mrs. Burton Schutt.
Sheath suits at Rose Marie Reid feature smooth exterior with mysteries of construction hidden inside; geometric patterns of lastex ($29.95). Model Geri Lindsay is former Miss Washington.