July 5 - 1946 - The Introduction of the Bikini
The bikini was revolutionary. It was a shockingly minimal amount of fabric for a swimsuit, basically just four triangles strung together just right. To push the envelope even further, the bikini's designer, Louis Reard, gave it the name of the South Pacific atoll where a nuclear test had just taken place. Reard was not the first designer to create a two-piece women's bathing suit. In the 1930s, it had become standard for women to wear two-piece suits, but they always covered the navel and had wide coverage compared to the bikini. Reard wasn't even the first designer to introduce an extremely skimpy swimsuit, as he was beaten to that a month earlier by Jacques Heim. Yet it was Reard's name that caught on, especially because he introduced his product at a well attended press conference at Piscine Molitor, the popular pool in Paris. He had a nude dancer named Micheline Bernardini model his bikini, because no real fashion model wanted to wear it. The bikini took awhile to catch on, but after actress Brigitte Bardot wore one on the beach at Cannes in 1953, the bikini was on its way to becoming the main form of swimwear for women.