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Michele Bernadini The First Bikini

Piscine Molitor, Paris, France
18 July 1946 LR4601

   Louis Réard newsprint patterned fabric halter and string side tanga. 129 square inches of cotton.

   TMLA! N-1. Tan lines.

   Two weeks after the Able atomic bomb test, and one week before the Baker test, Parisian Louis Réard registers the name bikini, adopting the name of the nuclear Bikini Atoll for his latest swimsuit creation (1). Does the box she is holding hold the bikini? From the front Réard's design is cut below the navel, vees up the front of the pelvis, and sports string sides (2). From behind the suit is, well, bare-butted (3). None of Paris's fashion models will wear Réard's creation, so it is introduced by Michele Bernadini, a nude dancer from the Casino de Paris (4, 5). Tanning problems are created by the abrupt diminution, both on the backstrap but especially the buttocks (6). Or as a Brazilian says, looking at the picture in the 1990s, "She have bum bum white!"
   Here is the pattern (7).

   The Paris fashion press suggests that the bikini gets its name because it looked as if its wearer is emerging in tatters from a nuclear bomb blast, wearing what little is left over. Or perhaps the combination of half-naked south sea islanders coupled with the atomic impact strikes a chord in the haute couture, and reminds them that atom bombs reduce everybody to primitive costume. Réard simply states, "Bikini--smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world."
   Réard's bikini store on the Avenue de l'Opera produces over 100 styles (such as LR4602) until in closes in 1984.
   British challenges to Réard invention stem from swimsuits in the late 1930s (OC3810).
   Starlets in America wear a lot more (MM4601).
   And some back history on Ms. Bernadini's famous place of employment (CP2000, JB3010).

   Collected from various sources. 7 pictures.
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