Friday, 4 July 2014

Happy Birthday to the Bikini!

Declared 'sinful' by the Vatican and banned in many countries, the bikini is now ubiquitous on beaches everywhere.

But when French engineer Louis RĂ©ard first saw women on St Tropez beaches rolling up the edges of their swimsuits to get a better tan and thought of the iconic two-piece, he couldn't find a model brave enough to wear it.

Eventually he hired 19 year old nude dancer Micheline Bernardini from the Casino de Paris to model it for him. And the rest, as they say, is history.

It was launched in Paris on this day, 5 July, in 1946 at Piscine Molitor, a public swimming pool. In the months that followed Bernardini received over 50,000 fan letters. Most of them from men...