Making a Splash

updated 08/30/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/30/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

SUMMER MAY BE FADING, BUT LOREN Laney and Bradford Moody are basking in a lovely afterglow. A lovely silver afterglow. That's the color of the stretch of shimmery fabric that has turned the two into near overnight swimwear sensations. Flashback to chilly January: Fashion stylist Laney, 28, was trying to pick a swimsuit for the summer ad campaign for Bain de Soleil—one splashy enough to pop off the page but subdued enough not to steal the scene from the tanning lotion. More than 150 suits later, says Laney, a native of Asheville, N.C., "we still didn't have the perfect one."

So he called his friend Moody, 32, an evening-wear designer and fellow Southerner from Lafayette, La., and asked for a favor: "Whip up a suit." Though he'd never done swimwear before, Moody whipped. Three days later, he unveiled a one-piece racing suit that was sexy, sporty, perfect.

More than 300 women who saw the ad that began running in magazines in April agreed—and bombarded Bain de Soleil headquarters in Cincinnati with calls asking where to find the suit. The tanning-oil folks didn't know and passed the calls on to their ad agency, which finally contacted Laney. Soon, Laney and Moody (and a small crew) had cranked out more than 100 replicas of the prototype, at $135 apiece. Now, thanks in large part to Laney's dad, Landy, who is president of a Southern supermarket chain and who kicked in some financial backing, the duo have turned their single sensation into a collection under the SWIM label. With the first wave of designs heading for stores in November, they're hoping for sales of $150,000. At any rate, Laney already has the ultimate seal of approval. "Dad's finally happy with what I'm doing," he says, laughing. "Getting into business."

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