Saturday, January 7, 2012

In the beginning . . . .

     So here is a brief list of the history of the bikini as found on a quick little Google search.

     1946: A two-piece swimsuit, named after the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, is invented by Paris engineer Louis Reard.
     1951: The bikini is banned from the Miss World pageant.
     1963: Annette Funicello wears a bikini in "Beach Party," which fuels the popularity of the swimsuit in America.
     1964: The bikini first graces the cover of Sports Illustrated 
     1993: The bikini is named the official uniform for women's Olympic beach volleyball, which spawns the popularity of the halter top sports bikini.

     Lets cover this a little better.  With a bit more research some interesting facts are found. No disrespect toward Annette Funicello, but she was not the first to make this style popular. An archaeological excavation of the ancient Roman villa near Piazza Armerina in Sicily, found a now famous mosaic of women exercising and running in an athletic type competition wearing skimpy 2 piece outfits similar to what we call bikini's.  This mosaic is now titled "bikini girls".  

By the early 1940's, stars such as Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner were frequenting the beaches in two piece swimsuits that insulted much of the conservative population while men's jaws dropped and young women were thumbing the catalogs to place orders for their own.  Even the average house wife, just like this lady to the right, my friend Patricia Pestalozzi, with a bold attitude, confidence in herself and an understanding husband, found themselves enjoying the skin revealing beach wear.
In 1947, My Favorite Brunette, staring Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour it the big screen and perhaps spun a new light on the revealing fashion. The rib cage was revealed and there was no turning back.
      The bikini was in print, on screen and in 1960, Brian Hyland released "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polkadot Bikini" to the airwaves.  By August the song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.  This song has survived generations of air play and can be heard in connection with many product commercials.
     The bikini's popularity rose as the waist line dropped.  In 1962, Ursula Andress emerged from the sea in the famous white bikini, in James Bond's Dr. No.  1965 brought America's beach sweetheart, Annette Funicello to the screen in a new style, low cut bikini in How To Stuff a Wild Bikini. And in 1966 Raquel Welch's posters were plastered to young men's walls all around the world wearing her tattered skin bikini in One Million Years B.C..  Truth be know, many of those posters are still hanging on garage and 'man cave' wall everywhere.
     Miss America allowed contestants to wear two piece swimsuits in 1997.  This was the first time in it's 77 year history that participants were given  the option of wearing a one-piece or the more revealing two piece.  This was a difficult decision since 15% of the overall score was based on this part of the competition.  If you can't pull off the confidence and the strut in those heels, you could destroy your chances of a win.    

     Not a lot has changed in the bikini over the past 50 years with the exception of fabric content,  amount of coverage,variety of sizes, acceptable ages and acceptable areas to wear them. OK - I guess there are quite a few changes but the bottom line is, the bikini is here to stay.  We at Exposure Swimwear want to thank Louis Reard for the island called Bikini Atoll for sharing it's name.    

     Just a little note - when I Googled Bikini Atoll, much to my surprise, there was only one picture of a woman in a bikini and one naked man on the beach - not together.  All the pictures were of ocean life and mostly of atomic and h-bomb explosions.  Kinda of a mood crusher.  Not highly recommended unless you just want to scroll down to see the naked guy - not that exciting either.
     But you may want to take the time to read a little bit about Louis Reard.  His story is pretty darn interesting. 

1 comment:

  1. I haven't worn an itsy bitsy bikini in over 6 years! Guess how old my child is?