Each year at this time, before the sand is fairly shaken from the summer's beach towels, the swimsuit makers in California, having assessed the trends and temperament of the times, present swimsuits for the year to come. It is now clear that American women, who buy more than 14 million swimsuits annually, are going to get more coverage for their dollar. While the bikini is still the acknowledged uniform for the hip (but not hippy) teen-ager, most of California's award-winning designers—among them Rudi Gernreich, Elisabeth Stewart Beck, Margit Fellegi and Rose Marie Reid—are concentrating on a covering suit that fits loosely but is not form-concealing. Capping this trend is Gus Tassell's first special collection for Catalina. Tassell has designed a group of suits that are miniature versions of the beach dresses to be worn over them. Cole of California also covers up (next page), but differently. The suits on these three pages will be available this winter.
Bloused-top maillot (above left, $24) by Rose Marie Reid is of lightweight nylon Helanca and has a natural, or no-inner-bra, construction. The tunic of knitted Creslan (left, $26) by Elisabeth Stewart has separate, elasticized trunks.
The covered look from St. Tropez is borrowed by Rose Marie Reid Juniors for a three-piece outfit (right, about $34) in wool knit: pullover, trunks and a bare midriff top with typical St. Trop anchor emblem. Vinyl kerchief is from Catalina.
A suit that looks as if it were already wet is Cole of California's front-zipped scuba-inspired maillot ($26). It is made of a lightweight double-knit nylon that has a high-sheen finish and is extremely supple and cool on the body. The black vinyl beach beret is from Bill Hawes.