Bikinis are that sexy piece of clothing that we love to hate and hate to love! We all know there is nothing more empowering than finding your perfect fit bikini. Even though it feels as though the bikini has been around forever, it is actually a relatively recent invention! Have you ever wondered how we even arrived at this ever-popular two-piece? Who even introduced the bikini to the world?
Well, the French, of course! The first bikini was first unveiled during the summer of 1946, post-WWII at a Paris poolside photo shoot. The designer was Louis Réard, a former engineer who was on a race against rival designer Jacques Heim, to create the world’s smallest swimsuit. The two both produced two prototypes but Réard’s was by far the skimpiest.
Now Réard’s bikini was not the first two-piece swimsuit invented, but it was the first one that showed the navel, which made all the difference. The tiny swimsuit made of triangles of newspaper printed fabric caused quite a stir. In fact, he wasn’t even able to fine a professional model to wear it and had to turn to an exotic dance named Micheline Bernardini.
It took a while for the bikini to become a staple swimwear option—while men and of course the young, bold European women loved the look, many countries like Spain and Italy actually banned the wearing of bikinis on the beach at first. The US was even more resistant to the skimpy new look and even though Europe had come on board by the 1950s, the US resisted it all the way to the 60s!
The sixties was a time of liberation and with that came a greater acceptance of the scandalous bikini! And once the bikini hit the beaches of the US, they never left! Bikinis only became more and more popular as time went on, until we arrive to the current time, where the variety of bikinis on the market is endless!
So if the bikini is one of your favorite pieces of clothing, you have the French, more specifically Louis Réard, to thank!