She was afraid to come out of the locker. She was as nervous as she could be She was afraid to come out of the locker. She was afraid that somebody would see One, Two, Three, Four Tell th people what she wore It was an Itsy bitsy teeny weeny Yellow polka dotbikini that she wore for the first time today.
It was in the 1960’s that this song was released which is exactly 14 years after the bikini was invented in France by Louis Reard in 1946, who worked at his mother’s lingerie store and named it after the atomic bomb test site, Bikini Atoll. He thought the public’s reaction would be like an atom bomb explosion, which he was certainly right about. This French designer is known to have invented the world’s first string bikini from just 30 square inches of fabric. It was wartime, fabric rationing was at its peak and that’s when 2 pieces began to emerge. The design was based on exposing the belly button for the first time and he said ‘It wasn’t a true bikini unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring’
It was so scandalous that no French model would wear it, so he had to hire a stripper for the debut of his bikini. The best modeling institutes in India cater to train students to be confident and professional with portraying the expression of the product.
Before Reard invented the bikini, women wore one piece swimsuits or if they were 2 piece swimsuits, they were so very modest that they exposed very little midriff and always covered the belly button.
Before that at the turn of the century, women wore these timid bathing costumes which were more like bloomers worn underneath long tunics made of wool, with weights sewn onto the hem of the tunics to prevent it from getting lifted when the women entered the water. When we think about wool costumes would’ve been bearable in the autumn winter season but not even near during the summers. Small changing rooms where created on wheels where women would change from regular clothes to bathing suits until they were took to the shoreline where they would straight away get into water, so that no one would see them in their bathing costumes.
It was only until the 1920’s and with the advent of garment design courses, when the swimwear became shorter and more formfitting. Tighter bathing suits allowed for more comfort while swimming where swim-friendly, light weight materials like latex emerged with Textile+ Technology reforms. Soon deep boat necks or V- necks became the latest trend and the armholes got a whole lot bigger, but those weren’t the only changes women were grateful for. Colors also got a lot brighter, which allowed them to choose a color according to their own personality, preference and to address fashion.
The bikini gained popularity in the 1950’s after Brigitte Bardot was photoshopped wearing a two-piece on the beach at the Cannes Film Festival, soon after which American actresses followed suit. The 1950’s is also accredited to the iconic Polka Dot Bikini worn by Marilyn Monroe. But the two piece bikini still had a long way to go in term of being accepted in the minds of one and all. In 1957 Modern magazine said ‘It was hardly necessary to waste words on the so called Bikini because no girl with tact or decency would ever wear such a thing’. Another writer described Bikini as ‘two piece bathing suits that revealed everything about a girl other than her mother’s maiden name’. Guards and the Bikini police would measure the bathing suits and women wearing bikinis were sure to get kicked off the beach.
Bikini’s became more mainstream in America until the 1960’s when Ursula Andress famously wore a bikini when she starred as the original bond girl in Dr. No. With the 1960’s however came a revolution, women’s movement and the rising popularity of the bikini where no one was afraid to wear one anymore.
In 1970’s string bikinis rose in popularity and thong bikini bottoms were introduced in Brazil 1974 and a year after that i.e. in the 1980’s, bikini bottoms were cut higher than any era, so it became even popular, which is why bikinis are believed to be accounted for 20% of swimsuit sales in the US.
In the 1990’s designers had a minimalist way with swimwear that featured clean lines and that’s when ‘Tankinis’ were introduced where the swimsuits made out of latex or spandex looked like bikini bottoms worn under tank tops, that went a little below the waist. In 1997 fashion Tankinis were believed to have bought modesty back to the Bikini concept. Moving on to the 2000’s, boy shorts and triangle bikini tops went all the rage and got heavily featured in the movie ‘Blue crush’. Tops and bottoms were sold separately, allowing women to mix and match their Bikini’s color and style.
In 2010 swimwear designers started making a wide array of attractive bikini options, with fabric manipulation or surface ornamentation detailing. This particular decade has also prompted and promoted body-inclusive Bikini swimwear options, helping in encouraging body positivity, for women of all sizes, shapes and colors. For decades bikini shopping was a vulnerable place for women, mainly because they had pre-conceived notions fed into their minds, by the narrow standards of the society of as to what a perfect body was supposed to look like.
The popularity of the bikini has been attributed to the power of women and not fashion. In New York Times, a reporter once called the Bikini as the millennial equivalent of the ‘Power suit’.
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