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Happy Birthday to the bikini

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Brigitte Bardot photographed at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.  (Provided)
Brigitte Bardot photographed at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival. (Provided)

Birthday wishes to the bikini.

It was on July 5, 1946, that the bikini was first shown at a poolside fashion show in Paris. No model would wear the scandalous suit, though. An exotic dancer was the only woman to agree to show so much skin. The suit showed her navel, oh my.

The bikini was designed by Louis Reard, a French engineer and part-time designer for his mother’s lingerie store. It didn’t take long for others to copy the skimpy style, but Reard’s advertising campaign declared that a two-piece wasn’t a bikini unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring. His bikini consisted of just 30-inches of fabric.

Named for atom bomb tests on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, the bikini didn’t really make a splash until Brigitte Bardot wore the suit publicly at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival. In the mid-’60s, the bikini took on more wholesome appeal when actress Annette Funicello donned one in her beach movies.

In 1964, Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue debuted with a model wading in the surf in a white bikini. Readers wrote into the magazine with date offers and marriage proposals to the model.

While bikinis are always popular, this summer the high-waisted two-piece is getting much of the attention. Lyst, a search engine for online shopping, reports that searches for the style are up 124 percent, while one-piece searches are up 56 percent.

Related Photos
Sports Illustrated's fist swimsuit issue in 1964. (Archive photo)

Sports Illustrated's fist swimsuit issue in 1964. (Archive photo)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7c3bcb98bbaa8ac75f6acddf5d15cae0.jpg" alt="Photo - Sports Illustrated's fist swimsuit issue in 1964. (Archive photo)" title="Sports Illustrated's fist swimsuit issue in 1964. (Archive photo)"><figcaption>Sports Illustrated's fist swimsuit issue in 1964. (Archive photo)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-25b27b0e49951c9c146a8a1149dfcaf8.jpg" alt="Photo - Brigitte Bardot photographed at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival. (Provided)" title="Brigitte Bardot photographed at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival. (Provided)"><figcaption>Brigitte Bardot photographed at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival. (Provided)</figcaption></figure>
Linda Miller

Linda Miller always has loved makeup and fashion, especially shoes and handbags. She admits to owning more lipsticks and glosses than many makeup artists, but she's not giving up a single tube. When she got the opportunity to move from... Read more ›

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