From Fur Bikinis to String Bikinis

Swimwear2014

You probably have a bunch of bikinis in your closet, ready to be worn this season, but do you know where the iconic two-piece actually came from? From styles and silhouettes to colour palettes and prints, underwater attire has come a long way. We have the low-down for you!

It is a little known fact that bikinis actually date back to ancient history. Artifacts dating back as far as 1400 BC from Ancient Greece depict gorgeous Greek women clad in two piece outfits during sporting events. Despite its origins, the bikini was considered taboo and unfit for society for the longest time.

Lucky for us ladies, in 1946, Louis Réard, a famous French engineer, along with Jacques Heim, a couture designer hailing from France, introduced a unique concept which was “smaller than the world’s smallest swimsuit” – and indeed, it was at the time! They called it the Atome which is French for atom – how fitting! Initially, many beaches in Europe and other parts of the world tried to call for a ban on bikinis, but after receiving thousands of fan letters from excited ladies, Réard started a campaign which proposed that it is not a real bikini “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.” Guess what? The majority won and bikinis became the norm in years to come.

So how did the name come about, you ask? The outfit was tested over and over again at a place called Bikini Atoll in the Marshal Islands and the name ended up sticking until today. You don’t hear us complaining!

Popularity surged when Bridget Bardot, the beautiful yester-years actress, strutted her stuff in a floral two-piece at the Cannes Film Festival way back in 1953. They soon became an integral part of pop-culture, when the talented Brian Hyland released his super catchy song called “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” in 1960. Just like that, everyone was snatching up our beloved bikinis up like they were hotcakes!

Many diverse styles have been in trend at some point or another. After Brian Hyland’s number, yellow was the colour of the year and every lady had to have her own two-piece in this sunny shade. Fur bikinis were popular in the late 60’s for a short while, until common sense prevailed and ladies realized how impractical a bear suit can be on the beach. The string variation came along in the 80’s and today, string bikinis are hands down one of the most popular categories in swimwear.

Next time you bring out your favourite bikini, remember where it came from and wear it with pride!

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