On this day, 65 years ago, a French designer introduced a daring swim wear for women that eventually became a summer icon. Let us go back in time and take a look at the launch of the eye-catching beach fashion staple!
The sexy bikini, which enjoys global fame as one of the most popular fashion wear, is the brainchild of French designer Louis Reard. On July 5, 1946, in the presence of many curious spectators, Reard unveiled a daring two-piece in Piscine Molitor, a well-known swimming pool in Paris. He called his creation the “bikini”, which was inspired by the atomic testing earlier that week, conducted by the U.S. in the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
As swim wear was still conservative at the time, Reard had trouble finding a professional model who would walk around and strike a pose wearing such skimpy and potentially controversial clothing—essentially a bra top and two triangular pieces of cloth joined together by string. He found his model in Parisian exotic dancer Micheline Bernardini, who had no problems wearing the sexy swimsuit.
Expecting the headlines his bold creation will produce, the French designer printed newspaper type on the piece modeled by Bernardini during the launch. The bikini was a big hit, especially among the men, with Reard’s main model receiving 50,000 fan letters.
Now, to cap our celebration the bikini’s 65th birthday, let’s watch a footage of the historical unveiling!
Sources and additional readings:
Bikini introduced on History.com
If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also want to read Beach-bound in Classic Style: Vintage Swim Wear Snapshots!