In lieu of the Burkini ban (an evolving swim wear from the bikini for ladies who want to be more covered) in France, the birth of the bikini is still being celebrated even after a month of this birth.
And just as it was celebrated in its birth country with pictures and a brief history, I would like to also take you down memory lane.
The Bikini was recently embraced in this part of the world maybe say in the early 2000’s or late 2000’s even, I remember as a kid whenever I wanted to buy a swim wear or go to the pool, people always bought the one piece swimwear and most times buy our wear with a short skirt or shorts that they take off when they get into the pool. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Although there had been skimpy swimwear’s, the Bikini was first created 70 years ago, 5 july 1946 by a French engineer turned designer, Louis Réard who was inspired to design the beachwear when he saw women in St. Tropez rolling in the sides of their swimsuits to get a better tan. At the time he unveiled an outfit “smaller than the world’s smallest swimsuit.” It arrived with a bang, so named after the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll.
However, Contrary to popular belief, the bikini was actually an ancient invention, as illustrated by this 4th century Roman mosaic from Villa Romana Del Casale in Sicily, Italy. Going back even further, two-piece garments were worn by women (for athletic purposes) as early as 1400 B.C. and are depicted on Greek urns and paintings from that period. (But only a few agree)
Louis Réard revealed the Bikini Four days earlier than the set date because the U.S. military had conducted nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll and hoped that his invention would be as explosive as that test and so called his new creation the bikini. But at first none of the Parisian models would dare to wear his design. It was first revealed to the world, in a scandalising fashion shoot, modelled by Casino de Paris showgirl Micheline Bernardini (no mainstream models were prepared to wear it) at the Piscine Molitor in Paris on July 5 1946. She carried a matchbox to show that the bikini was small enough to fit inside it.
It was wildly criticized and declared sinful by the Vatican. Bikinis were first banned from worldwide beauty pageants after the first Miss World Contest in London in 1951. As the tasteful one-piece continued to reign supreme, the bikini was later also banned in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Australia. Some fashion critics were outraged, with US magazine Modern Girl when it was worn on the cover, saying: “It is hardly necessary to waste words over the so-called bikini since it is inconceivable that any girl with tact and decency would ever wear such a thing.” But instead, it increased the bikini’s popularity. By the 1960s, the trendy bikinis had shrunk further to three triangles and string ties. The late 70s styles included briefs cut into new shapes, with tangas and thongs from Rio catching on worldwide.
It even became more popular after an iconic moment in cinema history came in 1962, when Swiss actress and the first bond girl, Ursula Andress, aka “ Honey Rider “in the James Bond film Dr. No, strode out of tropical Caribbean waters wearing her homemade bikini. Nearly 40 years later, it sold for $60,000 at an auction in 2001. The following year, the moment was re-created by Halle Berry in Die Another Day.
Actress Raquel Welch posed in the legendary cavewoman bikini for a publicity shot for her 1967 movie One Million Years B.C. after many famous actresses and sex symbols had endorsed the bikini i.e. Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and, of and French actress Brigitte Bardot. Giving it more popularity in the 90’s, U.S. professional-volleyball player (and model) Gabrielle Reece promotes her sport in 1997. Her team took first place at the first ever Beach Volleyball World Championships.
And just has the bikini suffered some set back the Burkini is also facing it out of the same fear of what it might do to the society, in the spirt of celebration, the French nationals believe it’s an unfair and un called for act, every woman is entitled to what fashion item makes them comfortable especially if it’s a swim wear, one deserves to be forced to expose their bodies.