A number of us wear these skimpy clothings especially when it’s hot, by the beach or poolside and even sometimes repurpose the bikini tops as actual tops but some facts about the bikini and it’s history will shock you.
1. Bikinis were named after a nuclear bomb test
In May 1946, at the time of the modern bikini’s creation, the United States was testing hydrogen bombs in Bikini Atoll, and in these tests Louis Réard found inspiration for the name of his bombshell new clothing item. The engineer-slash-designer thought that his new design was just as shocking as the nuclear tests—and at the time, his assumptions were accurate.
2. The bikini wasn’t the first two-piece
Just a few months before Réard launched his version of the bikini, another French designer, Jacques Heim, unveiled a similar two-piece ensemble. Dubbed the Atome, Heim’s swimsuit was self-described as “the world’s smallest bathing suit,” though it still covered the naval and was conservative compared to what Reard had to offer. As we now know, the Atome faded out, and the bikini prevailed as the one and only scandalous swimsuit.
3. Designers were fighting over the spotlight for the smallest bathing suit
French designer Jacques Heim called his two-piece bathing suit “Atome” and the marketing tagline was “the world’s smallest bathing suit”. Reard made a bigger splash with the launch of his bikini at Parisian swimming pool Piscine Molitor on July 5, 1946.
The big bang launch was almost sunk before it could happen because no model wanted to wear the tiny outfit, made from just 70 cms of cloth. The bikini, featuring a pattern of newsprint, was so small it could fit into a matchbox. But Reard managed to find a pretty 19-year-old Parisian showgirl, Micheline Bernardini, who was used to dancing in the nude, to model his outfit.
4. Wearing it was considered a sin by the Vatican
Young women sporting the skimpy suits in Spain and Italy scandalised older conservatives. Spain and Italy even banned the bikini from public beaches, and the Vatican declared it a sin to wear the outfit. It was the most daring young women who donned the two-piece, but by the 1950s, it had become a beach mainstay.
5. Several places still ban the wearing of bikinis
When the bikini was first introduced, countries like Italy, Portugal, and Spain prevented their citizens from wearing them. And though these countries have since lifted those bans, cities around the world still ban the provocative piece. Such places include Hvar, Croatia, where you can get fined for walking the streets in a swimsuit; the Maldives, where most public beaches are for one-piece suits only; and Ras al-Khaimah in United Arab Emirates, where swimwear is banned entirely.
6. Bikinis are the official dress code for female Olympic beach volleyball players
The bikini has been the official uniform of women’s beach volleyball players since the sport was introduced into the Olympics in 1996. Evidently, this move came in response to complaints about the previous attire. Olympian Holly McPeak once told ABC News that “sand goes down the top [of a one piece] and collects in the bottom.” As of the 2012 Olympics, women also have the options to wear a body suit or shorts and a top, though the bikini remains the “official” dress code for players from all countries.
7. The world’s largest swimsuit photo involved more than 3,000 women
In 2011, a city in China set the world record for the largest bikini photoshoot. With more than 40,000 volunteers helping out, the city gathered a total of 3,090 bikini-clad women together for the photo and beat the previous record set by Cosmopolitan in Sochi, Russia, of 1,923 women. The photo was part of a larger effort by Huludao Municipal Government to promote tourism to the area.
8. A Vietnamese airline staffs its planes with bikini-clad flight attendants
Headed by entrepreneur Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo, VietJet Air is Vietnam’s first privately-owned airline and the world’s first airline with bikini-clad flight attendants. Thảo’s idea to switch up the flight attendants’ uniforms has put her in the billionaires club, and the company has commanded over 30 percent of the airline market in Vietnam. And in response to critics, Thảo has said: “We don’t mind people associating the airline with the bikini image. If that makes people happy, then we are happy.”
9. There is a holiday just to celebrate the invention of the bikini
Do you love the bikini as much as Pamela Anderson? Luckily, you can celebrate your love for the barely-there bathing suit on July 5th, otherwise known as National Bikini Day. It’s the anniversary of the day in 1946 when Reard first introduced the modern bikini to the world!