Cole of California is one of the oldest labels in the history of swimwear. It was started in 1925, by Fred Cole, a former actor who convinced his family, owners of the West Coast Manchester Knitting Mills, a company that manufactures men’s long knit underwear, to start a swimwear division. The swimwear line would be known for its glamourous Hollywood edge that most likely came from Cole’s acting days.
Before you knew it, West Coast Manchester Knitting Mills ditched the underwear and focused primarily on the swimsuits. Cole of California had truly come into its own. In 1936 Cole then hired former theatrical designer, Margit Felligi as the company’s head designer. She would take the brand even further with her innovative use of fabrics.
Check out some of Cole of California’s designs throughout the years and continue on until the end for links to more resources on the iconic swimwear label.
A 1949 advertisement for Cole of California
A 1950’s advert for Cole of California by artist Ren Wicks
I’m really loving white at the moment. There’s something about wearing white with red lipstick that looks so sexy and chic.
Amazing! Dior for Cole of California ad, 1957.
Sharon Tate wearing Cole of California inside the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, 1967
Cole of California swimsuit, 1975
Inside Cosmopolitan magazine, 1988
Launched in the ’60s this plunging neckline one piece was known as Cole of California’s “Scandal Suit”
I love this two tone one piece, another one from the 1960’s.
This vintage 1970’s Cole of California playsuit / swimsuit is now on sale at CutandChicVintage! Grab it while it’s hot, this adorable one piece is on sale only until the end of Summer…
Additional reading links can be found below:
From the Vintage Fashion Guild
More on Margit Felligi and Cole of California
‘Anne Cole on the rise and fall of swimwear’ by The Baltimore Sun