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A police officer issuing a woman a ticket for wearing a bikini on an Italian beach, 1957
The bikini was banned from beaches and public places on the French Atlantic coastline, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Australia, and was prohibited or discouraged in a number of US states. The Vatican declared it sinful. The United States Motion Picture Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, enforced from 1934, allowed two-piece gowns but prohibited the display of navels in Hollywood films

Increasingly common glamour shots of popular actresses and models on either side of the Atlantic played a large part in bringing the bikini into the mainstream. During the 1950s, Hollywood stars such as Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Tina Louise, Marilyn Monroe, Esther Williams, and Betty Grable took advantage of the risqué publicity associated with the bikini by posing for photographs wearing them—pin-ups of Hayworth and Williams in costume were especially widely distributed in the United States. By the end of the century, the bikini had become the most popular beachwear around the globe. According to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard, this was due to “the power of women, and not the power of fashion”. As he explains, “The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women” though one survey indicates 85% of all bikinis never touch the water.
bikini  bikinis  fashon  history  nudity  navels  Hays  Code 
october 2016 by thegrandnarrative
6 Startling Things I Didn’t Know about Bettie Page | Messy Nessy Chic
Last night, I watched Bettie Page Reveals All, a 2012 documentary about her life history, with much of it narrated by Ms. Page herself and that wonderfully thick Southern accent of hers. Now here is the part where I admit that I ‘ve never really paid much attention to Bettie Page as a cultural icon before; always just putting her in that category of 1950s pin-ups second to Marilyn Monroe, never really giving thought to her story. And boy, what a story I was missing out on. What a woman! This documentary really put two and two together for me as to just how much of a mark Bettie made on our culture. She’s everywhere! I do realise of course that on a website like this, I might be a little late to the party and may very well be preaching to the choir here, but for those of you out there like myself, that never gave the lady more than a passing glance at her perfect pins, these are a few of the most surprising things I learned about Bettie… 1. Victoria’s Secret and most lingerie & swimwea
bettie  page  pin-up  girls  bikinis  lingerie 
may 2015 by thegrandnarrative
The First Monokini: Trying to make the Topless Swimsuit happen in 1964 | Messy Nessy Chic Messy Nessy Chic
When we think of the monokini today, we picture those fiddly one-piece swimsuits that give you awkward tan lines, popularised by the Kardashian and Hilton sisters. But the first monokini was in fact originally a topless swimsuit that exposed the female breasts, conceived in 1964 by avant-garde designer Rudi Gernreich, who predicted (rather accurately) that “bosom will be uncovered within five years.” While the design initially had a harder time catching on in the United States (the first American model to pose in the swimsuit, Peggy Moffitt, received death threats), the monokini appears to have found itself more at home unsurprisingly in Paris, at the legendary Piscine Molitor, where the first bikini was revealed to the world nearly twenty years earlier in 1946… In this press shoot I found in the LIFE archives, photographer Paul Schutzer captures model Daphne Dayle showing off the topless design for a pack of hungry male journalists. The suit’s creator, Rudi Gernreich, was an Austri
fashion  monokini  swimsuits  bikinis  freethenipple  topless  female  nudity 
march 2015 by thegrandnarrative
Bathing Suit Fashion and the Project of Gender » Sociological Images
I came across this ad for bathing suits from the 1920s and was struck by how similar the men’s and women’s suits were designed. Hers might have some extra coverage up top and feature a tight skirt over shorts instead of just shorts but, compared to what you see on beaches today, they are essentially the same bathing suit. So, why are the designs for men’s and women’s bathing suits so different today? Honestly, either one could be gender-neutral. Male swimmers already wear Speedos; the fact that the man in the ad above is covering his chest is evidence that there is a possible world in which men do so. I can see men in bikinis. Likewise, women go topless on some beaches and in some countries and it can’t be any more ridiculous for them to swim in baggy knee-length shorts than it is for men to do so. But, that’s not how it is. Efforts to differentiate men and women through fashion have varied over time. It can be a response to a collective desire to emphasize or minimize difference,
bathing  suits  fashion  swimwear  bikinis 
august 2014 by thegrandnarrative

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