vive le bikini

Bikini’s 60th birthday

The bikini, the most modern of swimsuits, is going to celebrate its birthday. Officially it is in July 5, and this year it will be 60 years old.

And it’s just as popular as it ever was — in fact, many styles inspired by the bikini’s first heyday, the 1960s, are once again in vogue this summer.

Actually a French engineer named Louis Reard invented the bikini, after he observed women on the beach in St. Tropez hiking up the tops and bottoms of the much-larger two-piece swim outfits that were worn then — they were trying to get a better tan.

This tiny little swimsuit, which exposed the belly and the navel, was considered so outrageous that Reard couldn’t get a model to wear it when he debuted his creation at a fashion show on July 5, 1946. He had to get a nude dancer to wear it instead.

Kelly Killoren Bensimon, a model-turned-magazine editor, wrote The Bikini Book (Assouline), a just-published celebration of the littlest swimsuit. The book aims to document the substantial significance the tiny two-piece has had on the world.

And the most important thing is, it still looks pretty good for a 60-year-old, right?



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