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The bikini–beloved friend of sunbathing women everywhere–turns a mere 65 years old tomorrow. Though I tend towards the more conservative look of a 50’s one-piece, like just about every other woman on the planet, having a bikini in the repertoire seems imperative.

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French model, Micheline Bernardini in the first bikini, introduced at a poolside fashion show in Paris.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=K46DqcWF7VU

The bikini received its official induction to the modern world and swimwear pantheon on July 5, 1946 in a poolside Paris fashion show. Though the American correspondents present at that ground-breaking fashion show believed this new bikini would never sell stateside–it was far too scandalous for the pure and virtuous American women to adopt–the bikini would made its successful debut on the American fashion scene a mere one year later. And American sunbathers of the female persuasion haven’t looked back since.

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In honor of that anniversary, we take a peek at some of the earlier incarnations of the bikini. It would be interesting to know (though, sorry to say, I don’t) when bikinis began to be acceptable at the various swim and country clubs here in Indianapolis. When did L.S. Ayres, Blocks and the other retailers begin stocking Catalina and other well loved swimwear brands? Or did the traveling ladies of Indianapolis find bikinis more appropriate for travel to any particular destination? 

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The original bikinis of the 1940s and 1950s were much more modest in their coverage, as compared to current standards. Bottoms were cut above the navel, and tops provided full coverage of the bust. The bikini has certainly evolved since then…

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Some of the 1950’s and 60’s playsuits with shorts are still longer than some of the “short shorts” girls wear today…

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This late 1950’s early 60’s set would have been great for the Indy 500 weekend, when breaking from all the anti-braking.

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By the late 1960’s- early 70’s, showing off the belly button was imperative.

Personally, I vote for a return of the looks with a bit more coverage. Too bad most women don’t realize that it’s infinitely more sexy to leave something to the imagination.

 

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