The oncoming of the summer season not only brings sunshine and beach holidays, but also the bikini sensation. Girl’s love them (and definitely boys too) and the media can’t get enough of them either. Since the bikini origin, headlines of top fashion publications have read ‘get that bikini body’ alongside images of gorgeous celebrities strutting their bronzed bodies and two-pieces. The bikini in its modern form has only existed for the past fifty years or so, but evidence shows that the origin of the bikini swimsuit dates back thousands of years. This article outlines the origin of the bikini, one of the most recognisable and loved fashion item of all time.
Early Bikini Origins
Contrary to popular belief, the bikini is not a product of the modern world and has actually existed as far back as third century AD during the Greco-roman world. A mosaic discovered in Villa Romana del Casale, Sicili clearly depicts a group of women frolicking on the beach in bikinis. This is not the only account of the bikini’s origins. In Pompeii a group of archaeologists found several statues of the goddess Venues dressed in a bikini.
The Groundwork for the Modern Bikini
After the introduction of women into Olympic swimming in 1913, Carl Jantzen designed a tight fitting two-piece swimsuit, but is covered the midriff and had shorts and sleeves. Nevertheless it laid the groundwork for the origin of the modern bikini bathing suit. Over a period of fifteen years necklines plunged, and sleeves and sides were eliminated. Hollywood adopted the new fashion swimwear as did stars such Ava Gardner and Esther Williams, which led to its widespread adoption.
The 1946 Bikini Explosion
The year of 1946 marked the origin of the modern bikini that we are familiar with today; the bikini exploded into the world with much force. It was invented almost simultaneously by French swimsuit designer Jacques Heim and car engineer Louis Reard. The former created his tiny two-piece for sale in his shop in Cannes. He named his creation the ‘Atome’, a name inspired by the minute size of the atom, the smallest particle known to man at the time. Quite appropriately, he marketed his Atome as the world’s smallest bathing suit. Unfortnatly, he could not be credited with the origin of the bikini. At the same time, Reard also developed his version of the scandalous two-piece. He named his creation the bikini after the nuclear tests being conducted in the South Pacific Island of Bikini. His reasoning for the name was that people would be as shocked by the revealing swimsuit as they were by the nuclear tests. Reard was right and the term bikini was readily adopted for the two-piece invention. In fact, the joke of the day was that the bikini split the atom, a reference to Heim’s trumped Atome two-piece. To this day, the origin of the word bikini is from the island Bikini, were the nuclear tests were tested and for this reason Reard is commonly credited with the bikini origin.
Penny Munroe is an avid writer in fashion related news and tips. Articles include the origin of the high heel to selecting the best linen shirts for the ocassion.