Women's bikini swimwear is no stranger to the limelight. Fifty years ago, Bridgette Bardot frolicked around on the big screen in "And God Created Woman" wearing a two piece that would be considered quite tame by today's standards- and caused quite a stir. So what is the bikini mystique? What makes this swimwear so very exciting to behold? Is it the tantalizing glimpses of flesh? The promise of more to come? The daring exhibition of the female form? Whatever it is, it has certainly been creating a ruckus for quite some time now.
In 1960, singer Brian Hyland introduced the world to his "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini", sending everyone from American teenaged girls to housewives and mothers on a bikini buying spree. Three years later, ex mouseketeer Annette Funicello created her own craze by wearing a modest white bikini in the film "Beach Party". Six sequels ensued, culminating in the ever popular "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini". (No bikini swimwear was harmed in the filming of these motion pictures) Hollywood then helped launch the careers of several other two piece bathing suits. In 1966, Raquel Welch's fur bikini (in the movie "One million Years BC) turned her into an instant celebrity- and adorned more than a few college dorm walls.
Great Moments in Bikini History
And then it happened. Some time in the early 70's, women on the beaches of Rio Di Jainero and St. Tropez took bikini swimwear to a whole new level with the introduction of the thong, or tanga, suit. This micro bathing suit's back was nothing more than a piece of dental floss, and the swimsuit world has never been the same since.
Today, there are literally dozens of variations on the bikini. From tiny suits that leave nothing to the imagination to modest, funky varieties that incorporate tank tops and frilly skirts. There are even a few curvy models very reminiscent of a certain Bardot look.