Hero Of The Century: Louis Reard
While you were out nursing your hangovers from a Saturday night full of barbecued meats, various cervezas and illegal fireworks, you missed out on celebrating and commemorating a much more important anniversary on Sunday: The 63rd anniversary of the bikini. On July 5th, way back in 1946, French designer Louis Reard introduced his “daring two-piece swimsuit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris.” Reard called it the “bikini” as a way of immortalizing (?) the U.S. atomic test that took place near the Bikini Atoll earlier that week. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Our esteemed colleagues over at The History Channel have a nice little write-up about this historic event, including a mention of how our little country was a little late to adapt:
In prudish America, the bikini was successfully resisted until the early 1960s, when a new emphasis on youthful liberation brought the swimsuit en masse to U.S. beaches. It was immortalized by the pop singer Brian Hyland, who sang “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” in 1960, by the teenage “beach blanket” movies of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, and by the California surfing culture celebrated by rock groups like the Beach Boys. Since then, the popularity of the bikini has only continued to grow.
Thank YOU, Annette Funicello! So in honor of Mr. Reard, our man of the century, here are some random shots of all sorts of girls in bikinis from a random Google Image search. Do enjoy.
(Sorry about that one. This should make it up to you.)
About Rick Mosely Rick is the editor for TSB magazine.