Two piece swimsuits began to be popular because of stars such as Ava Gardner, Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth. These famous film stars were sporting high waist bottoms that covered their hips and full back in the early 1940s. But is this the modern bikini?
The modern bikini was invented in July of 1946 in Paris. Jacques Heim was a French fashion designer from the world famous beach resort Cannes. The designer introduced his bikini invention in a local beach shop in July of 1946 and named it “Atome” (after the newly discovered atom because it was the smallest particle yet) and advertised it as the “world’s smallest bathing suit.
In the 1950s, Brigitte Bardot popularized the bikini in Europe. This photo was taken at the Cannes Filk festival in 1953. Catholic countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy banned the bikini, and in the United States the bikini was banned to be featured in Hollywood movies. It was seen as scandalous because of its tiny amount of fabric and as a “suspect garment favoured by licentious Mediterranean types.” It took around 20 years for it to be embraced in the United States, but after that both women and men began a love affair with the tiny desired garment.
The sexual appeal of the garment was used for many films in the 1960s. Dr. Strangelove, How To Stuff a Wild Bikini and One Million years B.C. were among the first movies that featured memorable scenes with bikini. In 1962, Bond Girl Ursula Andress emerged from the sea wearing a white bikini in the movie Dr. No and she became an icon.