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A Brief History Of The Bikini Swimsuit

Oct, 25, 2022

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How times have changed since the early 20th century, when a woman’s belly button was considered downright indecent.


The start of the bikini

Although women did wear two garments as early as the turn of the 20th century, the modern high waisted cheeky bikini as we know it today was invented in 1946 by French mechanical engineer Louis Réard and named after the island of Bikini in the South Pacific. Louis Réard’s bikini differed from the previous two in that it exposed a woman’s belly button, which was quite shocking at the time, and was not well represented in most countries except France.

The controversy over bikinis

Catholic countries ban it, and most of the world cringes in horror at the thought of having their navel exposed. However, as the risque bikini became more and more seen in the Western world media, it slowly gained recognition. Although two-piece bikinis have been around for a few years, most women still wear one-piece bikini swimsuits in the early 1950s. Bikinis are still considered too bold for the masses. Brigitte Bardot wore a bikini in the 1956 film God Made Women, which was a hit in her native France, but the rest of the world was still not ready to expose her belly button in public. Most bikinis seen in the 1950s were plain, with high-waisted pants covering the navel. The 1970s was the decade when bikinis became sexier and more revealing, with skimpy string bikinis and minimal bikini tops for maximum exposure. Farrah Fawcett made one-pieces voluminous again in a red high-leg swimsuit, but bikinis never went out of style. This was also the decade when the first topless G-string bikinis appeared, and throughout the 1970s and 1980s, string bikinis became smaller and smaller.


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