Wednesday, July 26, 2006

the bikini

The next few weeks are a time for celebrations. Tina, Hansel, Brad and Orlando all have birthdays and Emmanuel and Meg are marking the tenth anniversary of their nuptials, but perhaps no occasion is as important as this one: the bikini has turned 60. It debuted in Paris in July of 1946 (although it was actually invented the year before). ABC news has a photo history.

The bikini was so shocking that designer Louis Reard could not find a fashion model that would wear it and was forced to hire a stripper instead. Following scandal in Paris, two-piece swimsuits were banned in many countries. But, their popularity grew in the late 40s and 50s, thanks in large part to the influence of Hollywood.

My favorite Hollywood bikini moment came years later in the opening scene of Diamonds Are Forever, but many my age might prefer Pheobe Cates’ pool scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High for its impact on their development. Here’s to the bikini!

Bonus links: Jessica Alba’s yellow bikini and her brown and white ones
More bonus links: Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Collection. Magazine covers from 1964 foward and online galleries from 1996