Bikini

Two-piece bathing suit consisting of a very short bottom and a skimpy top that appeared after the war upon the announced return of a femininity that had endured the privation of war-time shortages. The search for novelties in beachwear was in the air: a similar costume was shown in the Spring of 1946 by a very famous designer, Heim. He named it Atome, hoping that it would result in an explosion like the atom bomb. But on July 3rd of that same year, the almost unknown designer Louis Réard would name his daring two-piece costume after Bikini, the Pacific Ocean atoll where, only four days earlier, the U.S. had started nuclear tests. And so, bikini it was. The first models, often crocheted, were in primary colors and quite proper, despite showing more of the body, and were clearly intended for very young girls. A completely different thing was the monokini, which purposely misunderstood the “bi” of bikini as meaning “double.” It was a suimsuit made of only one piece, the bottom (it came out in 1964). Starting in the 1970s, the bikini appeared in more reduced versions. There was the string bikini, with a small triangle-shaped bottom piece in front and just a thin string between the cheeks of the backside; and the “tanga,” of Brazilian origin, in which the skirt, thanks to its cut, shows the hips up to the waist.