Remembering Anne

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of swimwear industry icon and innovator, Anne Cole.

Our founder, credited with introducing the ‘tankini,’ passed away in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.

Anne Cole poses with models following her runway presentation.

Anne Cole poses with models following her runway presentation.

Born in 1930 in California, daughter of actor and swimwear manufacturer, Fred Cole, Anne Cole began her career in swimwear as a child model for her father’s collection, Cole of California in the 1930s. Anne Cole later joined the company in the early 1950’s working in various roles within the company including marketing, sales, merchandising, and management positions. She later launched her eponymous collection Anne Cole Swimwear in 1982.


In 1997, Anne Cole set out to design a swimsuit that brought a tailored sensibility to swimwear and famously introduced the world to the ‘tankini.’ Boasting the more modest coverage of a one-piece with the freedom of a bikini, the style was an instant hit and quickly captured a third of all swimsuit sales at the time.

Anne Cole with OTIS College of Art & Design students in 1986.

Anne Cole with OTIS College of Art & Design students in 1986.

Anne Cole is remembered as a swimwear icon. Her pioneering spirit and irreverent sensibility remains at the core of Anne Cole Swimwear.