The History of the Bikini

The bikini or two piece was officially invented in 1946 by two Frenchmen, Jacques Heim and Louis Reard, who thought of naming this women’s swimsuit after the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Actually drawings of two pieces have been found on some wall paintings which date back to more than 3500 years ago and some bikini-like suits appeared again in the Greco-Roman world, which means that Jacques and Louis simply re-invented the bikini, trying to design the smallest swimsuit “ever”.

Several artworks depicting women in bikini, including Venus, the renowned Roman goddess, date back to the Diocletian period and can be found in Sicily and Pompei (Italy).

The two piece emerged again in 1913, when designer Carl Jantzen created a modern bikini, featuring sleeves, for women in athletics.

Then, in 1946, French fashion designer Heim made his first bikini, obviously without sleeves, naming it “Atome” and, 3 weeks later, engineer Reard claimed to have split the Atome, creating a suit that was even smaller.

Predictably, due to many factors such as embarrassment, shame and narrowness of people’s mind, no woman wanted to wear such a small suit, so that Reard had to hire a dancer called Micheline Bernardini from the Casino de Paris to promote it.

In time, women appreciated the bikini and started to wear it, associating it with the idea of emancipation. Today, there are variants of the bikini, such as monokinis, tankinis, trikinis, camikinis, seekinis and even burqinis.

While the bikini (from Latin bi= two) is made of two pieces of garments which cover breast and the buttocks, the monokini (from Greek monos= one, alone) provides extra front coverage thanks to an additional piece of garment.

There are, then, the tankini (tank top + bikini bottom), which is very similar to a one-piece suit, the seekini, a transparent swimsuit and many other original shapes.

But let’s go back to the bikini, which, by the 1960′s, had become women’s favourite style in swimwear fashion. Today, we may find bikinis in all colours, shapes and patterns: bandeau tops, triangle cups, push-ups, padded bras, thongs, Brazilian cut or American cut bottoms, halter-neck tops, skirted bikinis and so on.

And don’t forget the wide range of decorations that make all of these pieces unique, original and trendy, such as metallic rings, ties, rhinestones, glitters, stones and gems. Along with swimsuits, beachwear accessories have grown in numbers as well, giving you the possibility to choose the style you prefer, matching it with fantastic towels, flip flops and sexy cover-ups.

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