Louis Réard was the first individual to coin the term bikini and was the creator of the smallest two-piece swimming item of its time. Although his luxury label closed in 1988, this week his company are re-launching new bikini’s and swimsuits, taking influence from their original designs and styles.
The re-launch of Réard’s designs comes at perfect timing, as summer is fast approaching. It seems fitting that we should go back through the decades and remember the bikini’s that have remained classics and the ones we might want to forget!
Réard was not the one who invented Bikini’s, he was the first to use the term bikini. Before he introduced his skimpy, flesh revealing numbers, women would wear more modest outfits during summer adventures to the beach. On the top half, one would usually don a love-heart neck line, covering the entirety of a female’s breasts, and the bikini bottoms were not like underwear, but instead were high-waisted shorts, usually covering at least half the length of ones thigh. Often covered in beautiful and vibrant patters, a trip to the beach would involve wearing outfits that were rather modest compared to later fashions.
May 1946, Réard was a French car engineer who was also taking over his mother’s lingerie shop in Paris. He introduced two small pieces of clothing, advertising them as ‘the smallest bathing suit in the world.’ He believed that everyone would be shocked by the risqué display of curves and the show of too much skin, that he named his invention after the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests. Réard thought that his invention would have the same effect as the atomic bomb, and this is where the name bikini stems from.
Two decades on from Réard’s break through in the swim-suit industry, the bikini became a two-piece hip rider in smooth fitting material. We witness almost a reversion from Réard’s designs, and instead a full brief on the bottom half rather than risqué styles that Réard favoured. Although bikini bottoms were more conservative, low cut tops were trendy.
Forget the low waisted bikini, the 1980’s is one of the most memorable decades in the era of swimsuits as the likes of Pamela Anderson from Baywatch graced everyone’s TV
in vibrant and extremely high waisted swimwear- the skimpy and the higher was the better! Metallic and vivacious colours are popular, as well as showing as much side and under-boob as possible.
2010 to Now
From the millennium to now, bikini’s have become much more focused towards the average, realistic size women. Plus-size ranges have been created to allow all women to feel comfortable and fabulous whilst wearing a bikini. From the high waisted bikini shorts to more supportive bikini tops, bikinis now are definitely the way forward.