Do You Know the History of the Bikini? If Not, This Is Going to Surprise You!

Do You Know the History of the Bikini? If Not, This Is Going to Surprise You!

Does it ever strike your curiosity where the bikini ever came from? Used as the fashion statement today at many beaches across the world, the bikini is a type of swimsuit that has been around for almost 100 years. The bikini also experiences backlash as it can cause a feeling of insecurity for those who don’t feel comfortable seeing people wear them or to those who don’t believe they have the beach body shape to look glamorous in one.


The bikini was born on July 5, 1946 by designer and former engineer, Louis Réard in Paris, France. It was first modeled by Micheline Bernadini, a Parisian exotic dancer at a now abandoned, swimming pool complex called Piscine Molitor. This event soon became a mark in history as the fashion statement was adopted by several French designers not too long after and eventually the bikini spread to the Western World and became a hit in the U.S.


The actual name itself “bikini” came from a huge event in history that was happening at the time. After World War II, the United States was challenged by the Soviet Union and its inventory of nuclear bombs. The U.S. conducted its first nuclear bomb in the year of 1946 and named it the Bikini Atoll. The name “bikini” was the name of a German colony making it an atoll when it was part of the German New Guinea. The testing of this nuclear bomb occurred in the Pacific Ocean during the same week the bikini was unveiled. This sparks Réard’s interest to name the two-piece swimsuit a “bikini”.


Shortly after Micheline Bernadini modeled the bikini for the first time, the creation hit international news headlines and became the talk of not just the town, but the world. By the mid-1960s, it became unusual for a woman not to choose a bikini as their chosen swimwear. At the time wearing a bikini was still something only accepted by women with thin body types. This did not change until the 1970s, when fashion designers started to incorporate women of all body types into their shows to encourage all women to wear a bikini.


Prior to Réard’s creation of the bikini, the two-piece was found to be worn back in Ancient Roman times. Artwork dated back to 285-305 AD, illustrated women wearing bikinis in Sicily and doing activities that involved exercising such as running, dancing, and lifting weights. Nowadays, the bikini is the official dress code for Olympic beach volleyball players. The dress code was put in place in 1996 but was later changed to bikini or bodysuit in 2012 giving the players an option to wear whichever swimsuit they felt most comfortable in. 


However, the bikini is still banned in several countries today. In the two Spaniard cities of Barcelona and Macarolla, bikinis are only allowed to be worn on the beach and surrounding streets. Bikinis are banned in all other parts of the city. This rule also applies to beach-goers in the Maldives, Croatia, and Turkey. You will be charged a fine if authorities see you away from the beach area wearing a bikini in the streets. The fine can be anywhere from 150 to 600 Euros. 


You may wonder if bikinis are banned in Islamic countries due to their religion. Surprisingly, there is not an actual ban in place in regards to bikinis. However, Muslims hardly ever wear bikinis and they are not fond of seeing tourists wearing bikinis when they visit. In high tourist cities such as Dubai, Muslims must keep the peace between bikini-wearers on the beach. 


If the bikini is banned on beaches in some parts of the world today, can you imagine the amount of places it was banned before? When French designers adopted the bikini after Réard brought it to the scene, most fashion models refused to wear it. They thought it was too revealing and scandalized as the first model who wore it was a stripper. In order for the designers to get their work of art shown on the runway, they hired strippers to do the job.


Overall, the bikini has an extensive history from being a two-piece costume created by a fashion designer during World War II to being the most popular swimsuit worn today. As the bikini creates a lot of talk around body image issues, indecent exposure, and insecurity, here at Ola Lily our mission is to make every woman feel confident in a bikini. That’s why we ensured that all of our bikinis come with adjustable straps to fit any and every body type.


Which one of these facts surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments!

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