|Written by Stephanie Mariani|
Ever wondered how it is that your underwear basically became what you wore to the beach renamed the bikini? AskBronny gives you all the history you'll ever need on the itsy bitsy teenie weenie.
The thought of the word ‘bikini’ conjures up many sizzling images like roasting in the sun, splashing in the surf and showing off one’s belly. However, when and where did the bikini craze begin? I’m sure that has never crossed anyone’s mind because most of us grew up with the bikini being a normal part of our summer attire unless of course you are from the colder parts of the world!
Swimwear has been around through out the ages; however, the bikini has only graced our beaches and pools for the past sixty years – not that long really. Since its birth way back in 1946, the history of the bikini has been anything but glamorous. It was French creator Louis Reard who revealed the bikini to the world after a two small islands in the Pacific known as the ‘Bikini Atoll’ were bombed. Inspired by the two islands and some competition from Jacques Heim, the bikini was born. Reard rivaled his fellow countryman and decided to create a bathing suit smaller than Heims’ already two piece called The Atome. Reard wanted his to be even smaller. Thus, the bikini was born.
However, little did Reard know, but his swimsuit creation would cause massive controversy worldwide. The bikini itself was even banned in Portugal, Spain and Italy amid claims it degraded women and was tasteless and tacky. This was most certainly surprising considering the Spaniards and Italians are well known for flaunting what their mother’s gave them!
It seemed that nothing – not even scandalous gossip from Hollywood was going to blow the bikini away. Along came Brigitte Bardot and in the 1950s the bikini reached new heights thanks to the sultry blonde’s sizzling performance in the movie And God Created Woman. Despite the bikini being banned from the Miss World contest in 1951, the bikini was more resilient than ever. By 1960, the bikini was a la mode thanks to pop singer Brian Hyland’s catchy tune “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”
It seemed that the Europeans and Americans were constantly battling over the message the bikini was portraying and in 1964 the Vatican even banned the monokini (topless bikini) even though its designer Rudi Gernreich sold a wave of them in Europe that inspired more people worldwide to venture across to Europe.
It was the sex appeal and finesse of actresses such as Raquel Welch and Annette Fucinello that helped the bikini gain more notoriety and hence a name in Hollywood. Welch appear wearing a bikini in the movie One Million B.C in 1966 and in the early 60s, Fucinello and Frankie Avalon helped the world fall more in love with the bikini in a series of films called Beach Flicks.
By the 1970s, designers were becoming a little more zealous and the Europeans created the Tanga Suit or the thong (G-string bikini) These days, it’s not surprising to find such bikinis on European beaches such as St. Tropez or on the beaches in Brazil. The 1980s saw the bikini appear on the big screen again – this time it was Carrie Fisher in Star Wars – Return of the Jedi.
The 1990s saw the invention of the sports bikini. It was volleyball champion Gabrielle Reece and MTV that helped launch the bikini that is now popular amongst sun, surf and sand chicks who like to be active.
2006 marked the 60th birthday of the bikini and shops both on and offline seem to have an influx of two piece swimwear available. Bikinis now come in a range of colours, shapes, sizes and designs with the current trend heading back towards the styles of the fifties. The bikini in itself is a fashion icon – here to last and outlast.
That’s it for the bikini for now, any questions on how to wear yours? Then AskBronny your fashion question today.
|"Money has nothing to do with being stylish. It's about being born with that inner eye and having the confidence to convey a sense of yourself outwardly. You can't buy that. It's genetic." Sarah Mower, Fashion Journalist|