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  • Bikini variants

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    Since the bikini was introduced in 1946, it has generated a number of variations, primarily smaller and more revealing than the original. The bikini has spawned many stylistic variations. A regular bikini is a two-piece swimsuit that together covers a female's crotch, buttocks, and breasts. Some bikini designs cover larger portions of the wearer's body while other designs provide minimal coverage. Topless variants are still sometimes considered bikinis, although they are technically not a two-piece swimsuit.

  • Bikini

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    A woman wearing a bikini at a beach A bikini is typically a women's two-piece swimsuit featuring two triangles of fabric on top, similar to a bra and covering the woman's breasts, and two triangles of fabric on the bottom, the front covering the pelvis but exposing the navel, and the back covering the buttocks. The size of the top and bottom can vary from full coverage of the breasts, pelvis, and buttocks, to very skimpy designs like a thong or G-string that cover only the areolae and mons pubis, but expose the buttocks. In May 1946, fashion designer Jacques Heim from Paris released a two-piece swimsuit design that he named the Atome. Like swimsuits of the era, it covered the wearer's navel, and it failed to attract much attention. Clothing designer Louis Réard introduced his new, smaller design in July. He named the swimsuit after the Bikini Atoll, where the first public test of a nuclear bomb had taken place only four days before. His skimpy design was risque, exposing the wearer's navel and much of her buttocks. No runway model would wear it, so he hired a nude dancer from the Casino de Paris to model it at a review of swimsuit fashions.

  • History of the bikini

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    Woman wearing bikini in Chicago (1973) Evidence of bikini-style women's clothing has been found as early as 5600 BC, and the history of the bikini can be traced back to that era. Illustrations of women wearing bikini-like garments during competitive athletic events in the Roman era have been found in several locations, the most famous of which is at Villa Romana del Casale. Partly due to material rationing after World War II, French engineer Louis Réard introduced the modern bikini, modeled by Micheline Bernardini, on July 5, 1946, borrowing the name for his design from the Bikini Atoll, where post-war testing on the atomic bomb were taking place. French women welcomed the design but the Catholic Church, some media, and a majority of the public initially thought the design was risqué or even scandalous. Contestants in the first Miss World beauty pageant wore them in 1951, but the bikini was then banned from the competition. Actress Brigitte Bardot drew attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on the beach during the Cannes Film Festival in 1953. Other actresses, including Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, also received press attention when they wore bikinis.

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