Skip to comments.This Day in History: July 5, 1946 Bikini introduced
Posted on 07/05/2009 9:34:38 AM PDT by Daffynition
On July 5, 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveils a daring two-piece swimsuit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris. Parisian showgirl Micheline Bernardini modeled the new fashion, which Reard dubbed "bikini," inspired by a news-making U.S. atomic test that took place off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean earlier that week.
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. Heim called his the "atom" and advertised it as "the world's smallest bathing suit." Reard's swimsuit, which was basically a bra top and two inverted triangles of cloth connected by string, was in fact significantly smaller. Made out of a scant 30 inches of fabric, Reard promoted his creation as "smaller than the world's smallest bathing suit." Reard called his creation the bikini, named after the Bikini Atoll.
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. As an allusion to the headlines that he knew his swimsuit would generate, he printed newspaper type across the suit that Bernardini modeled on July 5 at the Piscine Molitor. The bikini was a hit, especially among men, and Bernardini received some 50,000 fan letters.
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. Reard's business soared, and in advertisements he kept the bikini mystique alive by declaring that a two-piece suit wasn't a genuine bikini "unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring."
In prudish America, the bikini was successfully resisted until the early 1960s, when a new emphasis on youthful liberation brought the swimsuit en masse to U.S. beaches. It was immortalized by the pop singer Brian Hyland, who sang "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini" in 1960, by the teenage "beach blanket" movies of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, and by the California surfing culture celebrated by rock groups like the Beach Boys. Since then, the popularity of the bikini has only continued to grow.
A great service to mankind!
Famous "bikini girls" mosaic (found by archeological excavation of the ancient Roman villa near Piazza Armerina in Sicily), showing women exercising, running, or receiving the palm of victory and crown (for winning an athletic competition).
Bikini Mosaic Villa Romana del Casale M. Disdero Juin 2006
As have the incidents of skin cancer and other sun related skin damage grown.
That’s actually a pretty ugly suit, but I guess we had to start somewhere.
Reard with 1st bikini 1946
Unless you can demonstrate that the incidence of skin cancer has increased on the upper butt cheeks and the midsection--areas covered by a traditional one-piece bathing suit--then I don't think you can argue that wearing bikinis leads to skin cancer.
Not bad but not crazy about it either.
Yeesh man, that's because of global warming, not bikinis
Biggest wet blanket I’ve ever seen get thrown on such a promising thread, oy
LOL .... it was either that, or Helen Thomas. ;-(
Whoa...in that case, thanks for sparing us then ;^)
Looks like BE has a little CT goin on there
We should build a shrine to him. He did after all give us the bomb.
I like anything women wear. Except MO. That girl cannot dress.
Are you trying to blind me. WTH is wrong with you, anyway?
Bless you! My eyes feel better. I should pass a spell on that other poster.
Later, the "strap" was invented, eliminating the necessity of a nerdy man following young ladies around holding up their tops.
Oh, so our choices were: blindness or damnation?
Now that is funny. You must have put your nose on the monitor to catch that one. LOL
I thought the bikini has been here since One Million Years BC
Better BE with the CT than HT...Ouch!
Maybe I was just looking for it though :)
I’m a woman, what do you want.
Sorry, good thing I didn't ping you on the last pic I posted then :)
Thanks I was washing my out. I feel better now. A little out of breath but better.
Thanks I was washing my eyes out. I feel better now. A little out of breath but better.
I don’t at all mind looking at pictures of women in bikinis. I wear bikinis myself, and looking at pictures of other women reminds me to do my ab crunches and other exercises. I wouldn’t have visited this thread except that I need some inspiration for exercise this afternoon.
That one girl looks more like a child!
Women wear bikini swimsuits primarily to go out in the sun. That more skin is exposed by a bikini obviously increases the risk of sun damage versus other swimwear styles all other things being equal.
I hope I didn't sound snarky, I really didn't men to be
Straps, what straps? I don’t see no straps
Let’s see a picture. Everyone knows that Republican women are hot!
You are dog!
No, take that back that woman is a dog. Throw her a bone.
Nope, sorry. Ladies in their middle years do not post bikini-clad pictures of themselves on the Internet—at least, not if they have any sense of discretion. But thanks for the interest and the implied compliment!
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