As beachgoers hit the sand in teeny bikinis and retro inspired suits, the 2011 Italian swimwear trends are making themselves known.

This year, Italy's best beaches are dominated by fashionable bathers in bright colors and tropical prints. Flashy orange, yellow, lime, and cobalt blue suits are setting the 2011 trend, while cut-outs, asymmetrical drapes and lingerie-inspired beachwear are also popular this summer.

While trends may come and go, Italian designers have a long history of producing the most in-demand beachwear every season. To look your best on an Italian beach its important to understand the haute couture tastes that have shaped the Italian swimwear industry.

From La Perla and Parah to the modern Yamamay, we have put together the history of Italian swimwear.

La Perla

High-end lingerie brand La Perla was born in the 1950s when founder Ada Masotti began crafting corsets for a wealthy clientele in Bologna. She called her company ‘La Perla’ because the first dainty pieces were transported in jewelry cases lined with red velvet. The handmade lace and embroidery soon turned the well-crafted undergarments into a favorite among wealthy women.

By the 1960s, La Perla was marketing its elegant lingerie as an accessory rather than a necessity. Rather than producing only white and nude undergarments, La Perla released bras and panties in a range of colors that became an instant hit.

Once established in the lingerie business, La Perla expanded into beachwear in 1971. Adhering to the commitment to detail that made the undergarments so successful, La Perla Beachwear is a luxury line of swimwear that takes cues from Haute Couture. In 1978, a second, more body conscious, line called AnnaClub was released.

Since the company’s founding, La Perla has lived by Masotti's motto to: 'Never compromise on quality and innovation'. This dedication to excellence explains the $300 price tag that often accompanies a single piece of lingerie in La Perla’s collections.


Parah also has its beginnings in 1950s corsetry when Husband and wife Giovanni Piazzalunga and Edda Paracchini began selling their homemade garments at local markets.

The company gained momentum when it was officially established in 1962 in Gallarate, a town in the province of Varese, Northern Italy. Parah soon expanded to include beachwear in addition to lingerie.

In 1976, the company launched three new lines of swimwear: Sabbia, Impronte and Off Limits beachwear. Strategic positioning and edgy advertising ensured Parah’s success as a leading beachwear brand through the 1980s.


The first Yamamay store opened on 15 September 2001 in Busto Arsizio, similarly situated in Varese, like its predecessor Parah. Today, just ten years later, the brand has over 500 franchise locations in Italy and an additional 80 stores spread out worldwide.

The contemporary lingerie company and breachwear brand is often dubbed the Victoria’s Secret of Italy. The brand caters to modern young women, but also offers fashion choices for men and children as well.

Yamamay keeps summer swimwear fresh by basing their designs around a new tropical location every season. This year the collection was inspired by the beaches of Hawaii, resulting in floral-print bikinis and sheer breezy coverups.

Costumi Yamamay 2011