[ Main Page | Up (AK19) | Search ] [ Models | Costumes | Time Machine | Beaches | Professor ]

Annette Kellerman Retro in 1913... and in 1943

c. 1913 AK1350

   Bare arm swimdress and hose. Parasol.

   Nothing. Bare arms.

   Annette Kellerman strikes a Gibson Girl pose, complete with the swimdress over hose (1), which documents the state-of-affairs that precede Ms. Kellerman. If this is indeed her it is not Gibson Girl era: In 1902 Kellerman was 15 years old, living in Australia and had just won her first swim meet. No, this is Annette Kellerman wearing what she wore before she "invented the swimsuit!" So this picture is Retro Once, especially if it is from 1913, as claimed.
   Thirty years after it is shot, in 1943, Kellerman is living in Australia and is 56 years old. Back in the United State (the land she did so much to help liberate) the Post Office is trying to ban the magazine Esquire from the United States mail. In a hearing for the case, Esquire v. Walker, a suffragist and labeling advocate named Mrs. Harvey Wiley appears on behalf of the Post Office. As the government's witness she is shown cartoons from Esquire, which she claims are degrading to women; she urges the government regulate harmful literature just as it does adulterated food.
   On cross examination, attorneys representing Esquire show Wiley a photograph of a bathing beauty. Mrs. Wiley somewhat reluctantly deems it indecent and takes exception to the young woman's pose. Wiley is shocked when her questioner reveals the bathing beauty is the photograph is none other than Annette Kellerman. Not only does the trick sting, but it incenses Wiley, who just happens to be an Annette Kellerman admirer! The papers make fun of her with articles like "The Shapely Annette Shocks, Unshocks a Feminist Leader," Washington Daily News, Nov. 6, 1943, and "Esquire Pulls Old Trick, But Proves a Point," Washington Times-Herald, Nov. 6, 1943. So that is Retro Two.

   A much better quality scan would be valuable here but the costume and pose are clear enough to support this interesting story. The image is produced during testimony in the case Esquire vs. Walker, in which the Postmaster General of America tries to contain the magazine's liberalism of pictorial depiction. The story and images are found at the source below, which contains full citations.
   This story happens long after Queen of the Sea (AK1850) and her last movies of the 1920s. As we suggest above, the dating of this picture to 1913 falls outside the normal vector of exposure for the early teens; this is ten years out of hip. So that is why the Bikini Science hypotheses that this bathing dress and hose silhouette--especially for the sleek Annette--is a retro pose, and in a way a predecessor to his unitard (AK0650).

    Archives.gov, Collected Internet, 2006. 1 picture.