07/09/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT
Hey, baby, have we got news for you. Mommy and Daddy may let it all hang out, but that doesn't mean you have to. This summer cool kids are toddling down the boardwalk in diapersuits—honest-to-goodness bathing suits cut wide enough to cover baby's bottom, Pampers and all.
The diapersuit is the brainchild of Bunny Roma Hart and Sharon Barnett. Hart, 36, is the marketing and sales half of the team; Barnett, 39, is the designer. They claim to be the first on the beach with a swimsuit a diapered baby can fit into without tugging or tears or, worse, white peekaboo diaper droop. (Children's wear companies such as Carter and Absorba design some suits with diapers in mind.)
In any event the Bunny & Barnett suit has been making quite a splash since it hit the department stores earlier this year. The high-style line for boys and girls includes the Tarzan, the one-shoulder Jane, the Garbo, the Marilyn and the Norma (which was inspired by designer Kamali). There are no appliquéd moo cows or duckies anywhere in sight. Says Bunny, "This generation is very sexy and these are hot little suits."
The diapersuit was conceived soon after the birth of Sharon's baby, Mardi, now 1 year old. A former designer for Bobbie Brooks swim wear, Barnett was unhappy with the fit of the swimsuits she found in the stores. Urged on by Hart, she strapped Mardi on her back and went to work at her industrial sewing machine, turning out a line of 30 samples in three days flat. Within a month orders worth $30,000 from department stores across the country started pouring into Bunny's apartment, which doubles as the Manhattan office.
For next summer Bunny and Barnett are hoping to keep the competition at bay with tuxedo suits and Lycra maillots, translucent except for appliqués of palm trees and flowers on strategic areas. Of course there are still some old-fashioned parents who will prefer the cheapest and most practical swim-suit available—the birthday suit.