Since its debut in 1946 thanks to Heim and Réard and the bikini had become an iconic piece of fashion. The rise of Hollywood also helped cement its success with many actresses gracing the silver screen in two-piece bathing suits. As the decades past and the popularity of women’s swimwear on the rise, so did to the backlash. Countries across the world, many with a large religious population were banning bikinis at beaches. Surprisingly, bikinis were even banned from future Miss World competitions. Mainstream media also played a big part in this backlash. However, the popularity of the bikini couldn’t be stopped. Bridgette Bardot can be attributed to the societal acceptance of the bikini. Her choice to wear the bikini throughout the 1953 Cannes Film Festival after her appearance in the French film Manina, the Girl in the Bikini sporting you guessed it, a bikini, resulting in a greater shift in attitude towards the bikini.
By the 60s, popular culture had accepted the swimsuit. If we needed more evidence of this, who could forget the infamous song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini” by Brian Hyland. One of the most iconic swimwear moments came in 1962, with Actress Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in a white bathing suit in the James Bond film Dr. No. From then on, women’s swimwear was cemented in fashion history, with more movies taking advantage of the skimpy swimwear’s popularity throughout the following decades including films such as Star Wars, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and who can forget the TV series Baywatch.
Since then, the bikini has continued to be further revolutionized as new styles have emerged from Brazilian bikinis, thongs, micro bikinis, and beyond as cultural attitudes around femininity, self-expression, and modesty have evolved. While existing in one form or another from pre-recorded history to the modern era, what is certain is that the history of the bikini has impacted and shaped the cultures that it exists within; from its artistic expressions like sculpture and paintings to its written works, songs, cultural and social attitudes. Time will only tell how the bikini will continue to do so.
Whilst the rise of the bikini was seen as liberating for many women breaking away from societal norms it has also been argued that the two-piece sexualises women. For example, many athletes have argued against the fact of wearing two-pieces that resemble bikinis outwardly objectify women. For many female athletes they don’t get a choice in the type of kit they wear to play sport.
Since then, the bikini has come a long way. A normal part of our summer wardrobes, the bikini has evolved in more styles than we could have ever imagined, from Brazilian bikini bottoms, micro bikinis and bandeau tops. For many the choice to wear a bikini or something similar has become a form of cultural and self-expression. At Pour Moi we believe that everyone should be able to wear a bikini. That is why our range of supportive swimwear, in a range of styles, colours and flattering features is available in all sizes.