05.07.

1946: First Bikini Introduced

1946: First Bikini Introduced
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/The Wilson cloud from test Baker, situated just offshore from Bikini Island at top of the picture

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 5 July 1946
  • The inventor of the bikini could not find a professional model willing to wear such a small swimsuit, so he hired exotic dancer Micheline Bernardini. The bikini was a huge success, especially among men. Micheline Bernardini reportedly received 50,000 fan letters.

On this day the most popular swimsuit in history – the bikini – was presented to the world.

The creator of the bikini was Louis Réard from Paris. It is interesting that he was by profession an automobile engineer, but coincidentally also ran his mother’s lingerie shop near the famous cabaret Les Folies Bergères in Paris.

He noticed that women, while sunbathing on the beach, were folding the edges of their swimsuits to expose more skin to the sun. 

He, therefore, wanted to make the world’s smallest swimsuit. 

The idea for the name came to him when his rival produced a swimsuit named “Atom”, which was advertised as the smallest in the world.

Réard designed an even smaller suit and gave it the name “Bikini”, after the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, where nuclear tests being were performed at that time.

It was a word game: “Bikini” referred to splitting the “Atom” just like uranium atoms were split in nuclear bomb explosions.

Réard introduced his “Bikini” on this day at the famous Parisian public pool Piscine Molitor. He could not find a professional model willing to wear such a small swimsuit, so he hired exotic dancer Micheline Bernardini.

Micheline Bernardini reportedly received 50,000 fan letters. The first bikini was only 194 square cm of fabric, and was painted with newspaper-type print.

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