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Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
Nov 3, 2016
Reading time
2 minutes
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MarediModa celebrates the bikini's 70th birthday

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
Nov 3, 2016

Maredimoda, the trade show for beachwear and underwear fabrics and accessories, scheduled from 8th to 10th November in Cannes, will celebrate the bikini's 70th birthday with the 'Bikonic' exhibition. The bikini's story will be narrated via the most iconic fashion creations by signature beachwear designers and brands.


Micheline Bernardini, modelling the first bikini in Paris in 1946, holds a matchbox as a prop, part of designer Luis Réard's claim that the garment could fit inside..


The Palais des Festivals in Cannes will showcase models by the likes of Emilio Pucci, Gianfranco Ferré, Gucci and Gianni Versace, from the archives of Italian vintage specialist A.N.G.E.L.O Vintage Palace. The models mark the fascinating evolution of the iconic swimming costume first created by French tailor Luis Réard.

Réard moved beyond earlier prototypes, like the 'Atome' swimming costume by Jacques Heim. On 5th July 1946 at the Molitor swimming pool in Paris, he presented to the press what he himself defined as something "smaller than the world's smallest swimming costume", so tiny that it fitted inside a matchbox.


A teenage Brigitte Bardot - DR


The bikini was different from earlier two-piece costumes in that it left the navel exposed. It was a most audacious outfit in those days, forcing Réard to call on Micheline Bernardini, a French dancer and a nude performer at the Casino de Paris, to model his 'bikini'.

The name came from the Marshall Islands atoll, where the USA were testing nuclear weapons at the time, and the swimming costume was defined by renowned fashion journalist Diana Vreeland as "fashion's atomic bomb."

Soon after its launch, the bikini was famously worn by screen stars such as Ursula Andress, playing Honey Ryder in the first James Bond movie 'Dr No' (1962), by Rita Hayworth in 'Gilda', earning her the nickname 'bombshell', by Brigitte Bardot in 'And God Created Woman ' and by Raquel Welch in 'One Million Years B.C.'.

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