Monday, 11 July 2011

Bikini Birthday

One of the defining items of the summer is celebrating its 65th birthday this month.

Happy Birthday to the TitsyBitsyTeenyWeeny Bikini!

The ever-striking bikini has been able to adapt itself to changing beach fashion trends with the same fluidity as a gently lapping ocean, and the lure of looking good in one causes legions of women around the world to hit the gym as soon as summer rears its head and gobble diet pills like Pez.

But it's not always been so popular.

During its early years, the bikini was a source of controversy among more prudish onlookers, but with standard-bearers like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot and magazines like Sports Illustrated flying the flag, it soon became a staple of summer wardrobes everywhere.

The first bikini premiered on July 5, 1946. Its debut came by a pool in Paris, where young Micheline Bernadini, who worked as a dancer at a casino in the city, appeared with only four triangles of fabric covering her body. The idea for the garment came from Louis Réard, a one-time engineer who reinvented himself as a fashion designer. It wasn't long before Réard's creation was being sported by Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe.

In the 1940s and 1950s, most bikinis were cut with the panties in the 'culotte' style, which gave the wearer the appearance of thinner curves


Linda Stirling was another model to don a bikini in its early years but, as was the style at the time, she did not show off her belly button. Swimsuits were still comparatively modest at this stage, and the bikini was considered overly provocative by many. It was even banned in most spas and swimming pools.

A young Brigitte Bardot provoked strong reactions when she first wore a bikini in the mid-1950s. For some, her revealing outfit was a scandal, for others it was a symbol of women's liberation.

Actress Ursula Andress popularized the bikini by wearing one in the first James Bond film. By the 1960s, the bikini was so ubiquitous that people had all but forgotten the garment owed its name to Bikini Atoll, in the US Pacific island territories, where atomic bomb testing was taking place on the same date the bikini debuted in Paris.

By the 1970s, the bikini had evolved to the point that the 'culotte' cut had vanished and high waists became increasingly in vogue. In the early 1990s, top models like Naomi Campbell appeared on catwalks with minimized versions of the garment, and by the end of the decade variations like the trikini (pictured) had hit the shelves

By the year 2000, the arrival of models like Gisele Bündchen on the scene caused greater pressure for bikini wearers to strive for bronzed, athletic bodies. Bikinis had become much more light and simple in shape, with some variations replacing the bottom part with a thong - usually exclusively worn by the supremely body-confident!

Sports Illustrated magazine, with its annual catalogue of swimsuits, is the ultimate source for studying the evolution of the bikini and fashion. Compare and contrast the cover from 1973 (left), with the cover from the 2011 edition (right), featuring Cristiano Ronaldo's explosive new girlfriend Irina Shayk.

Sports Illustrated isn't the only brand which helps us see the evolution of the bikini over time. The Barbie doll is arguably another mirror for the society around us, and the plastic beauty first donned a fairly demure swimsuit back in the 1950s. Nowadays, she's not ashamed to go out and about in a bikini, even at the grand old age of 52!

Lingerie giant Victoria's Secret is famed for its dazzling undergarments and bikinis, and its loyal followers wait with bated breath to find out what new creations will be hitting the catwalk each May. The company was founded by Roy Raymond in San Francisco in 1977, after experiencing firsthand the trials and tribulations of buying intimate clothing for his wife. Since then, the most beautiful models on the planet have paraded around in his company's products as Victoria's Secret 'Angels'. One former Angel, Tyra Banks, is pictured above modeling a stunning Victoria's Secret bikini in metallic grey.

And so we get to the present day. This summer the trend is for bikinis with neckline bandeau, mirroring the pin-up look of the 1950s.

It seems as if fashion is becoming more and more recurrent.

Who couldn't picture the great Marilyn Monroe in this?

and some variations.

The Stickini made popular in the 1980s.  This version was the most daring of all. 

Strapless, waterproof bikini tops (essentially heavy duty stickers) came in a variety of sizes, colours, shapes and prints. Self-adhesive, hypoallergenic and ultra light.  One way to avoid the strap tan.

This one goes hand-in-hand with The Thong Bikini. 

Extremely daring and only for the Soopa Toned Bum Cheeks. It certainly doesn't leave much to the imagination.

Then there is the Why-Bother Microkini

Here is the Most Expensive Bikini and will set you back $30 million.  Pocket Change...

It has no fabric, only diamonds. This bikini contains over 150 carats of D Flawless diamonds, including a a 30 carat D Flawless Emerald Cut, 51 carat D Flawless Pear Shape, a pair of 15 carat D Flawless Rounds and a pair of 8 carat D Flawless Pear Shapes all set in platinum.  

Absa Lootly Beautiful!! And the bikini ain't bad either.

Happy Bikini Day.  Wish I had the bod to wear one.


Oilfield Trash said...

Happy Birthday to the bikini.

But I don't think you celebrated it correctly because you didn't post a pic of you in a bikini. LMAO

Brian Miller said...

whew...kinda glad i dont have to worry about a diamond bikini...those things cut glass right?

Slamdunk said...

From simply a viewer perspective--a birthday certainly worth celebrating.

Xmas Dolly said...

All I can say to that one is Ditto to your answer! I wish I had one too!

middle child said...

If someone gives me that diamond bikini, I will make DAMN sure to fix myself so that it fits.

Magixx said...

I did not really know where to look *_*

Cathy Kennedy said...

I personally like the original bikinis - modest yes, but I believe they are also classier and leaves a little more to the imagination than today's bikinis.

Congrats on being in the spotlight this week on MMM!

Come by to read…

~Cathy Kennedy, Children's Author
The Tale of Ole Green Eyes

Divemaster GranDad said...

If I was the inventor of the Stick-ini, I would have used water soluble glue...but then, that's me...

Happy Birthday G-string!!!

allstarme said...

Do pasties *really* count as a bikini??

JoeinVegas said...

Thank you for that history lesson.

Melanie said...

Can I brag a little here? Ok good. This is my first summer being able to wear a bikini without looking like a whale in floss or something along those lines!! Yay bikinis!!

dollycas aka Lori said...

Wow, Happy Birthday Bikini. LOL at Middle Child. Congrats on the Spotlight Dance!!!

Lucy said...

I'm a one piece lady but I love looking at the bikini and boy have they evolved over time LOL!

I loved your patriotic songs, we always forget we have non-American bloggers playing along and we just celebrated The Fourth of July (our Independence day) so I guess we were feeling patriotic LOL!

Stacy Uncorked said...

Wow! I didn't know all that about the history of the bikini - and some of those bikinis are kind of scary, aren't they? But like you, I sure wish I had the bod to wear them proudly...or at all... ;)

Love your music choices - congrats on your Spotlight Dance! :)

Patriotic Tunage - MMMM

Classic NYer said...

I can't imagine a diamond bikini being comfortable to swim in, haha!

JamericanSpice said...

I love the songs. I've heard that jazz song in commercial and always wanted to hear the whole thing.

And no bikini bod here :)

JamericanSpice said...

P.s Congrats on being featured!

have a great week!

Xmas Dolly said...

CONGRATS on the Spotlight Dance. Love your out take on the theme and your fabulous tips. Oh & I asked that question about my Give-Away & you're good to go. Get all your entries in, so you have a good chance to win. Hell, jusr playing along today is an entry. You go girl! WOO HOO

Lorie Shewbridge said...

I haven't worn a bikini since I was in my 20's and a size 6 - don't think that'll happen ever again! =)
Happy birthday, bikini.
I love Scotland the Brave, I did Highland dancing when I was hounger and it reminded me of that. I also did a tap dance to All that Jazz when I was younger. Thanks for the great choices and the wonderful memories.
Congrats for the Spotlight Dance!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

@Oilfield I don't want to scare the readers away!!

@Brian What? cut arse?

@Cathy the old fashioned type? Awesome.

@JoeinVegas You learn something new everyday, my friend.

@GranDad you and 100 million other hetrosexual males and lezzies.

@allstarme ask DiveMasterGranDad

@Melanie Way to Fuckin' Go!!!

@ClassicNYer who said anything about swimming.

@Lore Give us a jig!!! You know you want to.

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