The bikini is celebrating its birthday this summer,and the two-piece has come a long way since its creation in 1946.
History was made 72 years ago this week, when an outfit ‘smaller than the world’s smallest swimsuit’ made an appearance at a poolside fashion show in Paris. The brainchild of a French engineer called Louis Réard, the risqué two-piece quite literally exploded onto the fashion scene.
Réard realised that fabric rationing by the US government during the war presented him with a money-making opportunity. Fashion houses had begun to use rationing as an excuse to redesign the swimsuit, using less fabric and revealing more flesh. On July 5 1946, Réard took things one stage further by designing what we all know and love. The teeny weeny bikini – small enough to fit in a matchbox.
The only problem that Réard faced was finding a model brave enough to wear his invention. On July 11 1946, Micheline became the first woman to wear a bikini, during a press show in Paris.
Then followed pictures of a gorgeous Brigitte Bardot on the beach at the Cannes film festival in 1953, and boom! The world never looked back – they were everywhere.
There are hundreds of styles to choose from now, from classic halter-necks, tiny Brazilian to this season’s super on-trend Bardot look – (yes, she’s back) – so find the one that suits your body shape best.
Whether you’re packing for a beach break or sunning it up during this heat wave, I’ve found the prettiest and most practical bikinis from the high street.
Marks & Spencer
V by Very