Abigail Klein Leichman
April 25, 2012, Updated May 8, 2012

With its long coastline of blue Mediterranean beaches, Israel has always been a fertile source of swimwear design coveted in countries on all sides of the oceans.

Today, Israel’s annual swimwear exports total about $50 million. The best-known label is Gottex, founded just after World War II by Hungarian raincoat maker Leah Gottlieb. Gottex introduced Spandex and hard-cup bras into swimsuits, but it’s better known for adorning the bodies of international supermodels such as Bar Refaeli and Irina Shayk. 

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Tel Aviv-based Diva was founded even earlier, and is celebrating its 70th anniversary with special events and swimwear collections featuring cutting-edge fabrics. 

ISRAEL21c asked Gottex creative director Molly Grad and Diva marketing director Adi Weiss to share their favorite styles for the 2012 season, and we’ve added another two representing the growing category of “modest” Israeli suits by MarSea, Sea Secret, HydroChic and Princess Modest. 

1. Gottex “Empress”
Gottex Empress

“The 2012 collection is all about color — very bright and flattering colors — and beautiful prints. Color placed in significant areas flatters the body,” says Grad.

2. Diva “Katrina”

Diva Katrina
Photo by Ron Kedmi

“The leopard print was developed by us,” says Weiss. “You will always see animal and flower prints in Diva – rare signature prints done by painters from our own designs.”

3. Gottex “Virginia”
Gottex Virginia

Here’s another example of how color and prints placed just-so translate to a swimsuit that dazzles.

4. Silver by Gottex “Modern Day”
Gottex Silver

The Silver label is Gottex’s entry in the growing niche of swimwear purchased by cup size.

5. Diva “Mambo”

Diva "Mambo"
Photo by Ron Kedmi

This swimsuit is made with a touch of a brand-new fabric called elasticized plissé, which provides an eye-catching element that also is kind to less-than-perfect physiques. The photo was shot at the Dead Sea.

6. Profile by Gottex “Forbidden Love”
Gottex "Profile"

The fit-focused Profile line is less skimpy than the Gottex suits you’ll see in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, but no less sexy.

7. Gideon Oberson “Ocean Beauty”
Gideon Oberson Ocean Beauty

Swimwear design king Gideon Oberson added his line to Gottex in 2003, aiming to redesign beach fashion with “classic yet modern silhouettes.” Looks like he’s done it.

8. Diva “Shiraz”

Diva "Shiraz"
Photo by Ron Kedmi

This two-piece bathing beauty, pairing a leopard print with polka-dots, illustrates the trend away from matchy-matchy. “Dots are always in fashion,” says Weiss.

9. MarSea Modest “AquaSkort” and “Tie-Up SwimTop”
Marsea Aquaskort

AquaSkort looks like a skirt, but it’s actually baggy pants with an adjustable drawstring on each leg. The Tie-Up SwimTop comes in a variety of prints and has four widely spaced buttons and a drawstring bottom.

10. SeaSecret “Diagonal Blue”

This semi-cover slimming swimsuit is one of SeaSecret’s bestsellers, and it comes with optional matching head covering and tights.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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