A little insight into the history of 'The Bikini'
Posted on 16 August 2017
The story of the modern swimsuit began to emerge in 1907, when Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman was arrested on a Boston beach for wearing a form-fitting one-piece which became an accepted swimsuit for women by 1910.
It took anohther 40 years before the Bikini, a two piece swimsuit became acceptable.
Before the 60's it was scandalous to wear one, banned from beaches, and even declared sinful by the Pope Pius XII.
The first time the modern bikini really got show cased, was in 1946, when Louis Réard, a french designer, showed it on the catwalk in Paris. He named it the "bikini," named after the Pacific atoll. Known in the news at this time, because the U.S. government was detonating nuclear bombs there.
In the same year, another french designer, Jacques Heim, also created “the Atome”, a similar design to the bikini. So the two-piece swimsuit slowly made its entrance from France into Europe and later worldwide.
It was through Hollywood stars like Brigitte Bardot (The girl in the Bikini, 1952) and Ursula Andress ( James Bond Film, Dr. No, 1962) in the 50's and 60's where it slowly became popular and less scandalous to wear one.
Australian designer Paula Straford introduced the bikini to Gold Coast in 1952.
America resisted the bikini and banned it till the early 60's, but movies and songs made it popular by the youth and the surfer scene, and step by step it started to become more common.
Brian Hyland's song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini in 1960 inspired a bikini buying spree.
In 1962 Playboy magazine featured a bikini on its cover for the first time ever.
In 1964 a Berlin model, Babette March wore one on the cover of Sports Illustraded, which gave the bikini legitimacy.
Raquel Welch (1966) gave the world the most iconic bikini shot of all time and the poster image became an iconic moment in cinema history. It was in the american sexual revolution in the 60's where a wave of films made the bikini pop-culture symbol.
Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Gina Lollobrigida and Jane Russell helped further the growing popularity of bikinis.
By the early 70's more than 50% of woman preferred to wear bikinis instead of swimsuits!
Since then it has mostly become acceptable to wear bikinis at the beach in all western cultures.
But still today Bikinis are very controversial. In 2011 Spain made it illegal to wear them in public, except at the beaches. They're still banned in wrestling, and depending on culture and religion, a bikini is still seen by many as to much body exposure
So Bikinis are a symbol for comfort, freedom of speech, emancipation, style and opinion.
French fashion historian Olivier Saillard attributes the popularity of the bikini to "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". He said, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women."