If you were ever wondering who you can thank for the creation of the bikini, it has been around for longer than you may think. In 1959-1960 during an archaeological excavation of the Villa Romana del Casale, an Italian mosaic depicting 10 women performing athletic feats wearing bikini like clothing was uncovered. The mosaic was formally named ‘Coronation of the Winner’ but it is informally called the ‘Bikini Girls’. This mosaic dates back to around first quarter of the 4th century AD, a very long time ago.
The bikini as we know it today, was the result of two Frenchmen, Louis Reard, a mechanical engineer, and Jacques Heim, a fashion designer. Each separately worked on the idea of a two piece swimsuit. Heim marketed his creation as the ‘Atome’ , the world’s smallest bathing suit. It was two pieces but the bottom was large enough to cover the wearer’s navel. Reard was running his mother’s lingerie shop in Paris when he came up with his suit design which he called the ‘bikini’ and advertised it as ‘smaller than the smallest swimsuit’. Reard debuted his design first on July 5, 1946. He had a difficult time finding someone to wear his design in public, but he eventually found an exotic nude dancer that was willing, Micheline Bernardini. Reard obviously won the naming competition; however, Heim’s design was the first to hit the beach and be worn in public.
Regardless, the bikini has come a long way since 1946 and is not in any immediate danger of disappearing thanks to its ever growing popularity. Click on the image below to check out some more modern versions.