Anne Cole

Now Showing is an occasional feature that spotlights designers who appear with their collections in local stores. Anne Cole seems to have a theory about everything. Today she's showing her swimwear and sportswear at the opening of Nordstrom in West Los Angeles.

And if you get to see her, just ask which swimsuit suits you best. Odds are, she'll look you up and down, evaluate your shape and tell you that she has "a theory" about what a woman like you should wear.

She may recommend the one- or two-piece rose print swimsuits (pink roses on white backgrounds, red roses on yellow backgrounds) because they're "some of the prettiest, most feminine suits we've ever done."

But she's too honest to pretend that they're for everyone. Would she wear them? "No, not me," Cole replies. "I hate prints for myself."

What would she wear?

"I have a theory about that," she says, explaining that she and other pale-skin types usually look best in solid, neutral tones--at least until they acquire a tan.

Cole's swimwear collection includes a number of one- and two-piece suits in neutral, sand colors pepped with perky pastel touches. Those, she says, sort of "blend in with the body" and don't call attention to one's pallor.

Cole also has a theory about sportswear.

"Most women buy sportswear for a particular place," she believes. "They buy for Deauville (France), for Newport (Rhode Island), for Balboa (California)." It doesn't really matter if they're going there or not, she says. What matters is that they find the look of the place where they'd like to be.

Cole's current sportswear collection includes some very elegant Balboa-style shorts (wide-leg, mid-thigh length) and matching classic, tuck-in shirts (roomy, but not gigantic). Also skirts, pants and dresses suitable for any of the destinations she mentioned.

The pink cotton knit, low-waist tank-top dress and long jacket, illustrated here, is a style Gatsby's Daisy might have worn.

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