75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Categories: Fashion | History

On July 5, 1946, less than a week after the United States detonated an atomic bomb on the Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific Ocean, a Frenchman named Louis Reard — an automotive engineer turned designer-presented the world's smallest swimsuit to the world of leisure enthusiasts. He called his creation "bikini". As he himself said later, the name was born when he saw how women rolled up swimsuits to tan more.

The two-piece swimsuit was invented long before the appearance of Rear's creation. Even Greek urns and mosaics, which are more than 3000 years old, depict female athletes in two-piece swimsuits. But the genius of Rear's creation is that he created a swimsuit from a minimum of fabric, which at the same time could be worn in public. He said that a swimsuit cannot be called a bikini if both parts of it do not pass into the wedding ring.

We present you photos from the archive of Life magazine dedicated to bikinis. Let's see what these bikinis were like in the first years of their popularity.

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Santa Monica, California, 1940 (Peter Stackpole—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Tan with creative "tattoos", 1941 (Peter Stackpole—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Actress Donna Drake with a rifle on the balcony of her home in Los Angeles, 1942 (Peter Stackpole—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Rita Hayworth at home in Los Angeles, 1945. (Peter Stackpole—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Florida, 1945 (Nina Leen—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Florida, 1945 (Nina Leen—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Florida, 1945 (Nina Leen—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Actress Linda Christian, the first "Bond Girl", 1945 (Bob Landry—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Sunbathing in France, 1945 (Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

On the beach in France, 1945 (Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

On the beach in France, 1945 (Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

On the beach in France, 1945 (Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

On the beach in France, 1945 (Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

French actress Barbara Lang in a homemade swimsuit that she cut herself, 1945 (Nina Leen—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Beauty contestant Jackie Lee Barnes poses by the pool in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1949 (Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Model in a bikini, 1950 (Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Model in a bikini, 1950 (Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

French model Christian Richard in a bikini over morning coffee, 1950 (Nat Farbman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Model Lynn Jones, 1955 (Peter Stackpole—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Actress Jane Mansfield poses against the background of inflatable dolls, 1957 (Allan Grant—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Diving in Israel, 1960 (Paul Schutzer—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Model June Pickney, 1960 (Stan Wayman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Catching Fire, 1961 (Allan Grant—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Jane Mansfield with her husband Mickey Hartigay, 1961 (Stan Wayman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Actress Philomene Toulouse with her pet fox at the Cannes Film Festival, 1962 (Paul Schutzer—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Cannes, France, 1962 (Paul Schutzer—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1964 (Art Rickerby—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Hungarian model, 1965 (Walter Sanders—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Model Nathi Abascal shows a pattern on her chest and stomach, Bahamas, 1968 (Bill Eppridge—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Somewhere Near Malibu, California, 1970 (Co Rentmeester—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

75 years ago, the smallest swimsuit in the world appeared — a bikini

Southern California, 1970 (Co Rentmeester—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Keywords: Sea | Anniversary | History | Beach | Fashion | Bikini | Life | Swimsuit

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