TODAY   |  July 24, 2010

Swimsuit is hottest accessory

Swimwear designers from around the world descended on steamy Miami Beach, bringing celebrities and superhumans with more skin than seems possible. NBC’s Michelle Kosinski takes a look at all the swimsuits we'll be seeing next summer.

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ERIN BURNETT, co-host: Among other things, the economic slump has made Americans more stingy when it comes to buying clothing, but one category, swimwear, is actually up, and NBC 's Michelle Kosinski explains.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI reporting: Swimwear designers from around the world descended on steamy Miami Beach ...

Unidentified Woman #1: And a big thank you to the Kardashian sisters.

KOSINSKI: ...bringing celebrities, super humans with more skin than seems possible, and all the swimsuits we'll see next summer. Dizzying, almost unfathomable prints.

Ms. JACKIE LORENZ (St. Tropez Swimwear): Jungle dot.

KOSINSKI: This one makes an optical illusion. Genius . Genius . How's this for your three-year-old? It's like an explosion. What happened?

Ms. LORENZ: I think, you know, when it's tough times out there, people want something new, they want something fresh, they want color, they want prints, they want -- you know, they want excitement.

KOSINSKI: Like the new slightly scary gathered back. But the really big surprise right now, it's all about the guys. Men's swimwear has suddenly boomed, up 20 percent in the last year, even though clothing sales overall in the US are still down. Back in the day , seems guys didn't pay a lot of attention. Now it's the hottest territory. Expect shrinkage, meaning the suits. Getting smaller, much smaller.

Mr. RONEN JEHEZKEL (Parke Ronen): Don't be afraid. Just do it. Go for it and enjoy.

KOSINSKI: Think less Borat , more Bond . Last year, how much longer would that have been?

Ms. ELIZABETH SOUTHWOOD (Designer, Sauvage): They've just been coming up a little bit every year.

KOSINSKI: Then so what next year?

Ms. SOUTHWOOD: No. I think we stop here.

KOSINSKI: Some analysts even think that truncated trunks are a sign of economic recovery. Designer Crystal Jin launched her new line during tough times last year; now she's thinking of expanding. Yes, for the guys, too.

Ms. CRYSTAL JIN: Men are becoming more and more fashionable. I mean, they're really going out there, and they're like the ladies now. They're picking out all the great things.

KOSINSKI: Let's make them squeeze into spandex for once.

Mr. PARKE LUTTER (Parke Ronen): It's sexy, it's easy, it's light, and it's not going to break the bank to do it.

KOSINSKI: Something for everyone is how this industry is keeping us buying. Rest assured, designers have your back -- side covered, or not. For TODAY, Michelle Kosinski , NBC News, Miami Beach .