//
you're reading...
Daily History

July 5 1946 Bikini introduced


Micheline Bernardini models the bikini in 1946

On July 5th 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveiled a daring two-piece swimsuit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris.

Parisian showgirl Micheline Bernardini modeled the new fashion, which Reard dubbed “bikini,” inspired by a news-making U.S. atomic test that took place off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean earlier that week.

European women first began wearing two-piece bathing suits that consisted of a halter top and shorts in the 1930s, but only a sliver of the midriff was revealed and the navel was vigilantly covered.

In the United States, the modest two-piece made its appearance during World War II, when wartime rationing of fabric saw the removal of the skirt panel and other superfluous material. Meanwhile, in Europe, fortified coastlines and Allied invasions curtailed beach life during the war, and swimsuit development, like everything else non-military, came to a standstill.

In 1946, Western Europeans joyously greeted the first war-free summer in years, and French designers came up with fashions to match the liberated mood of the people. Two French designers, Jacques Heim and Louis Reard, developed competing prototypes of the bikini.

Heim called his the “atom” and advertised it as “the world’s smallest bathing suit.” Reard’s swimsuit, which was basically a bra top and two inverted triangles of cloth connected by string, was in fact significantly smaller. Made out of a scant 30 inches of fabric, Reard promoted his creation as “smaller than the world’s smallest bathing suit.” Reard called his creation the bikini, named after the Bikini Atoll.

In planning the debut of his new swimsuit, Reard had trouble finding a professional model who would deign to wear the scandalously skimpy two-piece. So he turned to Micheline Bernardini, an exotic dancer at the Casino de Paris, who had no qualms about appearing nearly nude in public.

As an allusion to the headlines that he knew his swimsuit would generate, he printed newspaper type across the suit that Bernardini modeled 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.Reard’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.”

In prudish America, the bikini was successfully resisted until the early 1960s, when a new emphasis on youthful liberation brought the swimsuit en masse to U.S. beaches. It was immortalised by the pop singer Brian Hyland, who sang “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” in 1960, by the teenage “beach blanket” movies of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, and by the California surfing culture celebrated by rock groups like the Beach Boys. Since then, the popularity of the bikini has only continued to grow.

This Day In History

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “July 5 1946 Bikini introduced

  1. Love the bikini

    Posted by michaelbanak | July 5, 2012, 14:25
  2. Lovely and good looking.

    Posted by neelkanth | July 5, 2012, 14:58
  3. It was also tragic in a way; the US military still did not understand the long lasting effects of radiation. After “Able” exploded and a large part of the surface fleet remained, they elected to have the sailors “wash off” the remaining ships with the surrounding sea water. Many suffered the effects of radiation as did the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Posted by Mustang.Koji | July 5, 2012, 16:45
  4. that was a 1946 model??? dang!

    Posted by wsj2day | July 5, 2012, 17:34
  5. Great post! And what an amazing model!

    Posted by moderndayruth | July 6, 2012, 04:43
  6. was it an itsy bitsy yellow polka do bikin? no.

    Posted by pdlyons | July 10, 2012, 02:12
  7. dot

    Posted by pdlyons | July 10, 2012, 02:13

Leave a Reply to michaelbanak Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 15,045 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

  • RT @DaveMilbo: A super easy thing you can do to make life less stressful for retail staff is just show them your vax certificate on the way… 3 hours ago
  • RT @JaneCaro: Whoever takes over from Tudge as Minister for Private Education will no doubt continue to over-fund the Palaces of Privilege… 3 hours ago
  • RT @RonniSalt: The Liberal party buy bots and engage in mass social media manipulation through their sub-contractors in order to influence… 4 hours ago
  • RT @DailyTelegraph0: Scott Morrison comments on Omicron being detected in Sydney: "I didn't even get a text message from the French preside… 4 hours ago
  • So watching @ScottMorrisonMP's latest antics, and he seems to be becoming more and more unhinged every day. He can'… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 6 hours ago

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

Pentagon plans to improve airfields in Guam and Australia to confront China

Pentagon plans to improve airfields in Guam and Australia to confront China

The Pentagon wants to improve bases in Guam and Australia to counter China following a review of U.S. military resources around the globe. The Global Posture Review (GPR), of which an unclassified version is set to be released later on Monday, “directs additional cooperation with allies and partners who advance initiatives that contribute to regional […]

Cadence Column: Asia, November 29, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, November 29, 2021

China faces a very serious and very real boycott at the Olympic Games. The Olympic Committee awarded China as the host country and claims that politics isn’t its business; other governments need to handle that. Boycotts are under serious consideration in the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and the European Union via Lithuania. If […]

China targets ride-hailing operator Didi for delisting in New York

China targets ride-hailing operator Didi for delisting in New York

China’s internet regulator has ordered the operators of a major ride-hailing app, Didi Chuxing, to delist from the New York Stock Exchange, in an ongoing government crackdown on the country’s technology sector, international media reports said on Friday. The Cyberspace Administration has ordered Didi Global Inc to devise a plan to delist, out of concerns the […]

US sends warship through Taiwan Strait in message to China

US sends warship through Taiwan Strait in message to China

The U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) sailed through the Taiwan Strait in a routine operation on Tuesday. The transit sparked anger from the Communist Chinese government, which considers Taiwan its territory, and it characterized the U.S. warship’s actions as a provocative act. The U.S. 7th Fleet announced the USS Milius’ […]

How China is trying to turn the U.S. against itself

How China is trying to turn the U.S. against itself

As Congress advances a set of bills to protect against Beijing’s efforts to subvert American democracy, China is using our system of government to block and tackle. On November 12, Reuters reported that Chinese officials have been pressuring American companies, executives, and trade groups to lobby against the legislation, threatening to reduce their share of […]

Chinese geo-strategic expansion in the Levant: A case study of Lebanon

Chinese geo-strategic expansion in the Levant: A case study of Lebanon

As soon as the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, China and the Middle East faced a series of challenges. In recent years, China’s influence in the region has expanded due to its economic interests in energy, trade, infrastructure construction, and diplomatic contacts with the region’s countries. This is linked to President Xi […]

The Chinese Communist Party still thinks it owns the future

The Chinese Communist Party still thinks it owns the future

A rising chorus of analysts now describe China as a “peaking power”—one that might take greater risks to revise the international order before its strategic window of opportunity closes. They cite the country’s aging population , slowing economy , and hostile external environment  as evidence that time is no longer on China’s side. The “fear of decline,” they […]

Chinese maritime militia threatens order in South China Sea

Chinese maritime militia threatens order in South China Sea

Hundreds of Chinese maritime militia vessels are operating in contested areas of the South China Sea on a consistent basis, according to a new U.S. think tank report that says this poses a significant challenge to “maritime order rooted in international law.” The Washington, D.C.,-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), says that for […]

Cadence Column: Asia, November 22, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, November 22, 2021

The world is not responding well to the so-called “plandemic”. The important thing is not whether the global disease, as said by Judy Mikovits to have been developed under the supervision of Fauci, was actually intended to do all this. The public thinks it was because governments haven’t work carefully to earn public trust. Even […]

Tackling Chinese technological advantage 

Tackling Chinese technological advantage 

“China has won the artificial intelligence battle with the United States and is heading towards global dominance because of its technological advances”. When the Pentagon’s former software chief Nick Chaillan made this claim, it felt as if the whole world had come crashing down. The whole episode gave rise to the debate about who’s ahead […]

%d bloggers like this: