Thursday, November 9, 2017

History of the Bikini.

Surf, Woman, Mar, Surfer, Wave  I've been reading up on the retro look and in the process, my curiosity about regarding the bikini exploded.  Its been around for as long as I've been buying swim wear but I've never actually worn one, even though I own two. 

There is a bit of history behind the creation of the bikini I never realized.  For the most part bathing suits covered a woman's body in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Although the first form fitting one piece bathing for women emerged in 1907, it would be several years before a woman could wear one without being arrested. 

The two piece started making its appearance in the 1930's but it consisted of a top and bottom with little skin being shown.   Due to the rationing of materials during World War II, fashion houses started pushing two piece bathing suits because they used less fabric and showed more skin than before.  These creations sparked the imagination of two Frenchman.

 One was a fashion designer who released his around July 1, 1946, calling it the atom but the other an engineer, released his version on July 5, 1946, four days after the bomb exploded on Bikini Atoll. His creation used only 30 inches of fabric and was the smallest  suit of the time.  It consisted of a bra and two inverted triangles held together with a string.

He named his creation the bikini after the United States nuclear tests on the Bikini atoll.  He hoped his new fashion would explode like the bomb.  Unfortunately, he could not get regular models to wear it but he hired a nude model who premiered it on July 11, 1946.  In some of the initial pictures she held a matchbox.  One of it's selling points is that the whole suit could fit in a matchbox.

The bikini was banned at beauty pageants after it was worn at the first Miss World contest in London back in 1951.  Pretty soon several other countries was banned.  In fact, the Vatican declared bikinis to be sinful.  Bridget Bardot did much for popularizing bikinis beginning in 1953.   In 1962, the bikini got another shot of publicity when Ursula Andress stepped out of the ocean in her homemade suit in a James Bond Movie. 

The bikini slowly came to America in the 1960's with the release of a series of beach blanket movies whose women lived in bikini's.  These main stream movies along with actresses who wore bikini's to become acceptable in public.

 In addition, Sports Illustrated published its first every swimsuit issue in 1964 with a bikini clad model.  The story is that the publisher of the magazine needed something to fill space during the winter months, so he asked a fashion reporter for help and the rest is history.

It has been fascinating learning about the history of the bikini.  I hope you enjoyed reading this. 

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