Happy Bikini Day! The bikini today is an incredibly popular (and often incredibly revealing) swimsuit in many countries. It’s socially acceptable today, but when the bikini was first released on this date in 1946, it was absolutely scandalous. Creator of the bikini french designer Louis Réard knew the garment would be received with apprehension, and so named his creation after Bikini Reef, where the military had been testing the atomic bomb, an weapon so small that could cause so much uproar (like the bikini). Micheline Bernardini, pictured below, was the first woman to wear the bikini, which was so small it could fit into the matchbox she is holding.
Such a scandalous swimsuit was banned in some countries including Australia, Spain, Italy and Belgium and was banned from beauty pageants. The bikini gradually grew in popularity, before beginning to be truly embrace in the 1960s. Since it was such a social horror in the 1940s, you’d be easily forgiven for believing that was definitely the first time women had worn the two piece suit. However the bikini dates back hundreds of years. The first evidence we have of a bikini-like piece of clothing comes from ancient Greece, where women wore two piece suits for athletic purposes. Ancient Romans also wore what could be described as a bikini, although this again appeared to be for exercise, and there is no evidence it was used for swimming in.