There are very few items of fashion that please both women and men. The Bikini would be one of them, women like to wear them and men like to look at them, although nowadays some men wear them too, why? I do not know.
The bikini was born at a Paris poolside photo shoot on July 5, 1946, a week before Bastille Day and in the midst a global textile shortage. The designer, former automobile engineer Louis Réard, hired the only model willing to expose so much model, a 19-year-old nude dancer from the Casino de Paris named Micheline Bernardini. She put on the four small patches he had strung together and showed the fashion world the female belly button.
Benardini agreed to model, on 5 July 1946, Louis Réard’s two-piece swimsuit, which he called the bikini, named four days after the first test of an American nuclear weapon at the Bikini Atoll.
However Réard’s bikini was not the first 2 piece bathing outfit . For that we have to go back to about 5800 bc.
In the Chalcolithic era, the mother-goddess of Çatalhöyük, a large ancient settlement in southern Anatolia, was depicted astride two leopards while wearing a bikini-like costumes Two-piece garments worn by women for athletic purposes are depicted on Greek urns and paintings dating back to 1400 BC.[ Active women of ancient Greece wore a breastband called a mastodeton or an apodesmos, which continued to be used as an undergarment in the Middle Ages. While men in ancient Greece abandoned the perizoma, partly high-cut briefs and partly loincloth, women performers and acrobats continued to wear it.
In Coronation of the Winner, a mosaic in the floor of a Roman villa in Sicily that dates from the Diocletian period (286–305 AD), young women participate in weightlifting, discus throwing, and running ball games dressed in bikini-like garments.
Even in the modern era that there had been two piece swimsuits. Actresses like Jayne Mansfield had been wearing two-piece bathing suits, But never with the navel showing. That was deemed to be scandalous .
Bernardini modeled the bikini 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. Réard’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.”
The bikini has spawned many stylistic variations. For example the Monokini.
A monokini, more commonly referred to as a topless swimsuit and sometimes referred to as a unikini, is a women’s one-piece swimsuit equivalent to the lower half of a bikini.
In 1964, Rudi Gernreich, an Austrian fashion designer, designed the original monokini in the US. Gernreich also invented its name, and the word monokini is first recorded in English that year.
Despite the bikini’s initial success in France, worldwide women still stuck to traditional one-piece swimsuits. Below a picture of an Italian police officer issuing a woman a ticket for wearing a bikini on an Italian beach, 1957.
The bikini was banned from beaches and public places on the French Atlantic coastline, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Australia, and was prohibited or discouraged in a number of US states.
The Vatican declared it sinful. The United States Motion Picture Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, enforced from 1934, allowed two-piece gowns but prohibited the display of navels in Hollywood films.
Increasingly common glamour shots of popular actresses and models on either side of the Atlantic played a large part in bringing the bikini into the mainstream. During the 1950s, Hollywood stars such as Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Tina Louise, Marilyn Monroe, Esther Williams, and Betty Grable took advantage of the risqué publicity associated with the bikini by posing for photographs wearing them—pin-ups of Hayworth and Williams in costume were especially widely distributed in the United States.
By the end of the 20th century, the bikini had become the most popular beachwear around the globe.
Now that bikinis have become a normal part of summer wardrobes, we have to tackle the next discussion of who is “allowed” to wear them. An international conversation has been taking place over the internet and within the fashion industry surrounding inclusivity and representation of all bodies, not just some. In my humble opinion women should be allowed what they want to wear whatever it is. However I still have issues with man wearing bikini type of fashion garments. the so called ‘mankini’ made popular by Borat.
Who would have ever imagined though, that something so destructive as an atom bomb would become the inspiration of something so beautiful as the bikini.
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