Displaced Hawaiian Malia Mills' first official bikini was a lemon nylon spandex number with yellow plastic rings. As the story goes, the enterprising young Mills realized early on that bathing suits didn't fit and flatter as well as lingerie, so she endeavored, creating cuts and fabrics to give the wearer the same support and personal feel of undergarments. Malia Mills is now known best for her versatile and figure-flattering 2-piece swimsuits, each piece of which is designed to "suit" its wearer's individual taste and figure. Mills designs her tops and bottoms as separates, making it possible for her expressive clientele to not only split sizes and styles, but colors and prints to their liking. With personal clients like Elle Macpherson, Cindy Crawford and Rosie Perez, Mills' fans are in pretty good company.

"Swimwear is unique. When I started telling people I was designing swimwear, everyone had some embarrassing story to tell, like the suit that broke on the honeymoon or the bikini top that got lapped away by a wave. There is so much emotion attached to swimwear, that's why I really appreciate having a store even though I've been successful wholesaling in the past few years."

As people travel and get married all the time, the Malia Mills collection has now expanded to include resort, making her sought after suits available year round. Now including sarongs, flip flops and other resort items; each collection always has a black base fabric along with new prints, colors and textures, that are designed to work together. Malia comments: "I want my collections to work just like the clothes in your own closet. You can always go back and mix them with different pieces; the same way you'd wear your jeans with different tops." Her flagship store sits in New York's Nolita (again, "North of Little Italy") and with its success - as well as that of its LA based successor - Mills is Miami bound with store number three this September. Her annual summertime sample sale takes place annually - so plan ahead - it's packed (!) and the bargains are as fierce as the shopping competition. Devoted Mills fans can also look forward to Malia Mill's lingerie. Stay tuned...

Malia Mills can be found in NYC
at 199 Mulberry Street near Kenmare
Los Angeles at 7972 Melrose and soon in Miami Beach at 610 Collins.

Everything you've ever wanted to know about bikini waxing but didn't know who to ask.