The 2lst annual Sun & Swimwear Show held this week ushers in an era of bumper sales to beachwear manufacturers for the trimmings trade.

Bikini tops and bottoms are edged with contrast colour piping, while one-pieces are lavishly embellished with gold thread work. Both types of suit may also be trimmed with "piecrust" ruffles.

Similarly the beach bags, shoes and hats that most manufacturers now offer are replete with beading, embroidery and artificial flowers. And the see-through cover-ups - essential add-on items for summer 2003 - sport sari-like gilt or glitter decorations.

For summer 2003 prints outweigh plains in the most fashion conscious collections. On colour choices, turquoise seems to be next summer's best seller, most often teamed with a rich claret or chocolate. Several houses favour fuschia-like combinations of hot pink with purple, most notably Slix, making a welcome return to the London event after several years absence.

By Sonia Roberts.