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Designers bring sexy to swimsuits

Sex sells, and for swimwear designers Indhra Chagoury and Jeremy Somers, it makes their label We Are Handsome a global brand. Returning to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia on Wednesday, they showed a collection full of sass and humour.

Healthy, curvy models strode the runway in tiny bikinis, skin-tight leggings and low-cut one-piece suits. ''We've developed new prints and fabrications this season,'' Chagoury said. ''This collection has a real sense of fun, which has added a sweetness to our sexy heritage.''

We Are Handsome has a strong Hollywood client base counting pop star Rihanna, actress Diane Kruger and model Miranda Kerr among its customers. ''The celebrity association has defiantly helped us break into the American market,'' Chagoury said. ''These women have inadvertently become incredible brand ambassadors - that we never could have afforded.''

Joining their trademark tiger and buffalo face prints was a cool retro cassette print and the introduction of boardshorts for men. The label, which designs and manufactures in Australia, is growing rapidly, adding 16 new countries to its stockists in less than 18 months.

Showing a more subdued brand of sexy was veteran designer Lisa Ho, who proved that after 30 years in the industry, she understands what women want to wear. ''My customer is sleek, sporty and glamorous,'' Ho said. ''She wants fitted and effortless pieces that transform from day to evening.''

In the Art Gallery of NSW, the slick, saleable collection was full of versatility, with flared skirts, cropped pants and soft jackets in a palette of midnight blue, black and white. The designer injected a touch of colour with a delicate porcelain inspired print, used to great effect in her sculptural swimwear.

Her emphasis has long been on detail and tailoring, and she showed her skill with keyhole cut-out jumpsuits, sheer paneled skirts and immaculately draped singlets and shirts.