Since July 5, 1946, women have been hitting the beaches and poolsides in bikinis. National Bikini Day marks the anniversary of the invention of the revealing two-piece bathing suit.
- Named after the Bikini Atoll, where the United States conducted atomic tests, the two-piece bathing suit made its debut in Paris. French designer Louis Réard wanted to name revealing bits of fabric “atom.”
- The original bikini was created by automobile engineer Louis Reard (1897-1984) and consisted of only 30 square inches. Reard declared it wasn’t a real bikini unless it could be “pulled through a wedding ring.”
- By World War II, sunbathers cast aside the chaste one-piece bathing costumes for simple two-piece bathing suits. However, nothing prepared the United States for the revealing bikini when it hit the beaches on July 5, 1946. While Europe enthusiastically donned the bikini after a long and arduous world war, American’s sense of decency kept them from accepting the bikini until the 1960s.
- Though the bikini was introduced to the world in the late 1940s, it wasn’t until 1957 that celebrities and mainstream media began to accept the skin-bearing new fashion trend. It was in that year that French actress Brigitte Bardot appeared at Cannes Film Festival in a floral two-piece. And once Bardot made it acceptable to wear a bikini, celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Esther Williams quickly followed suit.
- July 1962 marked the first time that Playboy ever featured a woman with a bikini on its cover. In fact, the iconic cover barely featured a woman at all. Instead, it focused artistically on a bikini bottom and the tan lines it created.
- The bikini has been the official uniform of women’s beach volleyball players since the sport was introduced into the Olympics in 1996.
- The first woman to ever model a bikini was……a nude dancer. Her name was Micheline Bernardini, and Réard hired her after every model he approached turned him down (on account of his “bikini” being too revealing).
- The oldest recordings of a two-piece set date back to Ancient Roman times. The first depiction of a two piece comes from a 1,700-year-old Roman mosaic called Chamber of the Ten Maidens, in which several women are seen playing sports and exercising in what could be considered a modern-day bikini.
- The original monokini took the bikini to the next level. Designed in 1964 by Rudi Gernreich, the monokini was basically a regular swimsuit—but where a top should’ve been, there were two thin straps instead. As you might imagine, the “topless bikini” didn’t take off quite like the bikini did.
- In 2008 Speedo, in collaboration with NASA, released a swimsuit so drag-resistant that it was banned from use in swimming competitions for giving swimmers using it too much of an advantage. – Source
- Nearly three-quarters of the market for swimsuits is made up of women’s swimsuits, with the rest being split fairly evenly between men and children.