The Bikini

July 5th Celebrates - The Bikini

On July 5, 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveils a daring two-piece swimsuit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris.

European women first began wearing two-piece bathing suits that consisted of a halter top and shorts in the 1930s, but only a sliver of the midriff was revealed and the navel was vigilantly covered.

In the United States, the modest two-piece made its appearance during World War II, when wartime rationing of fabric saw the removal of the skirt panel and other superfluous material. Meanwhile, in Europe, fortified coastlines and Allied invasions curtailed beach life during the war, and swimsuit development, like everything else non-military, came to a standstill.

In 1946, Western Europeans joyously greeted the first war-free summer in years, and French designers came up with fashions to match the liberated mood of the people. Two French designers, Jacques Heim and Louis Reard, developed competing prototypes of the bikini.

In planning the debut of his new swimsuit, Reard had trouble finding a professional model who would deign to wear the scandalously skimpy two-piece. So he turned to Micheline Bernardini, an exotic dancer at the Casino de Paris, who had no qualms about appearing nearly nude in public.

Before long, bold young women in bikinis were causing a sensation along the Mediterranean coast. Spain and Italy passed measures prohibiting bikinis on public beaches but later capitulated to the changing times when the swimsuit grew into a mainstay of European beaches in the 1950s.

Before long, bold young women in bikinis were causing a sensation along the Mediterranean coast. Spain and Italy passed measures prohibiting bikinis on public beaches but later capitulated to the changing times when the swimsuit grew into a mainstay of European beaches in the 1950s.

There’s some interesting trivia about the bikini, did you know in 1964 the bikini made the cover of Sport Illustrated for the first time?

The release of the popular song, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” in 1960 rocketed the bikini swimsuit into a position of popular culture icon.

Bikini sales dropped tremendously during the 1980s and early 1990s as the one-piece swimsuit experience a resurgence of popularity. In 1988, Louis Reard’s original bikini company was forced to close, as bikini sales plummeted to just 30% of the swimsuit market.

The name bikini derived from unlikely source; it was named after a bomb.

In 1946, two distinct events overlapped in such a fashion as to forever link a swimsuit design with an island via a nuclear test. The island in question is Bikini Atoll, a ring-shaped coral reef island located in the Pacific Ocean within Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The two-piece swimsuit had, exploded in popularity revealing more than what women were use too, but was more pleasing to men.

How much skin are you wiling to bare this summer time?

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio

jdmitchelldesigns@gmail.com

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