Happy 65th, Bikini
It may seem surprising, but the bikini turned 65 this month. Although practically synonymous with 1960s beach culture in the US, the first bikini was the creation of French designer Louis Réard and debuted on July 5, 1946. It was not the first swimsuit of its kind, but was named and marketed in direct competition to a slightly earlier swimsuit, the “Atome,” named after the smallest known particle of matter, and advertised as “the smallest swimsuit in the world.” Reard wanted to outdo his competitor, and planned an advertising campaign describing his swimsuit as smaller than the smallest swimsuit in the world.” Since “bombshell” was already a current phrase, it was probably very easy leap to make to consider “atomic bombshell” as a name for one-upsmanship, but then Reard struck on the name “bikini” because the Bikini Atoll was where the atomic bomb was being tested.
Reard has been quoted as saying “A bikini is not a bikini unless it can be pulled through a wedding ring.” Apparently, the suit was considered so risqué that Reard had a hard time finding a woman who would wear it in public. However, a 19-year-old French showgirl volunteered to model the suit at a Paris swimming pool, which turned out to be an even bigger event than Heim’s swimsuit’s debut at Cannes.
Although Hollywood was relatively quick to embrace the two-piece swimsuit, it was a long time before bikinis, per se, would become popular or even accepted in Hollywood. However, at the beginning of the 1960s, America begins to grapple with the idea of a revealing two-piece swimsuit. It is not an accident that “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” became the smash hit of summer 1960.
Although the late 1950s were rife with novelty songs (“Short Shorts” (1957), “Purple People Eater” (1958), and “Tequila” (1958), for example), this is more than just another novelty song.”Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” comes at the cusp of the bikini’s acceptance, and as American teens were singing along with the words, American culture was struggling with whether a bikini was really too risqué for public consumption. Consider this promotional still for Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii (1961).
Elvis Presley and five women in swimsuits, but none of them two pieces. However, this all was soon to change. One of the most iconic swimsuit moments in cinema came in 1962, when Ursula Andress emerged from the surf wearing her iconic white-belted bikini And in 1963 bikinis became standard beach wear with the debut of Beach Party. Consider this promotional still for the film, where Annette Funicello is actually wearing a bikini.
This two-piece may not be “itsy bitsy” by any stretch of the imagination, and it probably doesn’t meet Reard’s standards, but, crucially, you can see her navel (though the pose she’s in obscures it somewhat, and there may even be some airbrushing to obscure it further). This is significant, and it’s worth noting that you had to go to the cinema to see a woman’s navel. The belly button was considered too much exposure for TV until the early 70s.
The crucial innovation of the bikini is the revelation of the abdomen, including the navel. Although this is now accepted, it is nonetheless a source of anxiety for many women today because the abdomen is a place where women store fat and often have excess skin or stretch marks, especially after having children. If your abdomen is a source of anxiety, but you want to be able to wear bikinis with confidence, an abdominoplasty may be able to help.
To talk about how an abdominoplasty can help you achieve the swimsuit body you desire, please contact Dr. Vasdev Rai at the Cosmetic Surgical Center today to schedule a consultation.
Dr. Vasdev Rai
Dr. Vasdev Rai has performed more than 25,000 cosmetic surgeries over his more than 30 years in practice as a Dallas plastic surgeon. He is a board-certified plastic surgeon who was first certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 1983. Learn More...
Dr. Surjit Rai
Dr. Surjit Rai was born and raised in Plano, Texas. Being the son of a plastic surgeon, Dr. Rai had the unique opportunity to see first-hand the impact a plastic surgeon can have. He knew at a young age that he would dedicate his life and academic career towards the goal of becoming a plastic surgeon. Learn More...