They decorate the beach like graphic posters, striking color blocks painting the body. The new wave of swimwear for 1980 is plain geometry, baring high on the thigh and often cut low on the back so that the body becomes another color segment.

Designed in stretch fabrics that take the shape of the wearer, these suits make strong visuals for the slim -- here, Gail Kendrick, Washingtonian turned international model, photographed in Nassau, Bahamas.

In the Norma Kamali designs, bareness rises to new heights, with inventive cutouts that use the body as background tone. And while bikinis bare out the same bold color message, the newest two-piecers are those that like more coverage, such as a camisole top and a bikini bottom. CAPTION: Cover Photo, Gail Kendrick by Bill Snead. Graphic suit, available with straps, from Gottex of Israel, at Hecht's, $46. Picture 1, tridescent Spandex paints a graphic design on the body in Norma Kamali's inventively cut (and tricky to put on) one-piece suit for Omo. Neiman-Marcus, $52. Picture 2, broad bands of color outline the low-cut front of this black suit by Barbara Grosberg for Going Places. At Garfinckel's, $32. Pictures 3 and 4, Giorgio Sant'Angelo's two-piece suit for Sinclair starts with a camisole top. Neiman-Marcus, $42. Red sequins slash the front of La Perla's white maillot. Diana Parker, $98. Pictures 5 and 6, Plain geometry divides this Diva swimsuit into blocks of color. At Bloomingdale's, $48. New Angles in this one-piece Spandex suit for Elon by Monika Tilley. Saks Fifth Avenue, $45. Photographs by Bill Snead