History of the Women’s Bikini The bikini or two piece is a women’s swimsuit with two parts, one covering the breasts, the other the groin (and optionally the buttocks), leaving an uncovered area between the two (optionally in the case of the Tankini). It is often worn in hot weather or while swimming. The shapes of both parts of a bikini resemble women’s underwear, and the lower part can range from revealing thong or g-string to briefs and modest square-cut shorts. Merriam–Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition) describes the bikini as “a woman’s scanty two-piece bathing suit”, “a man’s brief swimsuit” and “a man’s or woman’s low-cut briefs”.

Old artwork portraying the Bikini

Artwork dating back to the Diocletian period (286-305 AD) in Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily depicts women in garments resembling bikinis in mosaics on the floor.[5][8] The images of ten women, dubbed the “Bikini Girls”,[9] exercising in clothing that would pass as bikinis today, are the most replicated mosaic among the 37 million colored tiles at the site.[10] Archeological finds, especially in Pompeii, show the Roman goddess Venus wearing a bikini. The modern bikini started to emerge again in 1907, when Australian swimmer and performer Annette Kellerman was arrested on a Boston beach for wearing a form-fitting one-piece which became an accepted swimsuit for women by 1910. In 1913, inspired by the introduction of women into Olympic swimming, designer Carl Jantzen made the first functional two-piece swimwear, a close-fitting one-piece with shorts on the bottom and short sleeves on top.[14] By the 1930s, necklines plunged at the back, sleeves disappeared and sides were cut away. Hollywood endorsed the new glamour with films such as Neptune’s Daughter in which Esther Williams wore provocatively named costumes such as “Double Entendre” and “Honey Child”.[15] With new materials like lastex and nylon, by 1934 the swimsuit started hugging the body and had shoulder straps to lower for tanning.[16]

The original bikini

By the early 1940s two-piece swimsuits were frequent on American beaches. Hollywood stars like Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner tried similar swimwear or beachwear.[17] Pin ups of Hayworth and Esther Williams in the costume were widely distributed.[14] Finally, the modern bikini was introduced by French engineer Louis Réard and fashion designer Jacques Heim in Paris in 1946. Heim was working on a new kind of beach costume. It comprised two pieces, the bottom large enough to cover its wearer’s navel. In May 1946, he advertised it as the world’s “smallest bathing suit”. Réard named his swimsuit the “bikini”, taking the name from the Bikini Atoll, one of a series of islands in the South Pacific where testing on the new atomic bomb was occurring that summer. Historians assume Reard termed his swimsuit the “bikini” because he believed its revealing style would create reactions among people similar to those created by America’s atomic bomb in Japan just one summer earlier.[19] Réard sliced the top off the bottoms and advertised it as “smaller than the smallest swimsuit”.[20] Réard could not find a model to wear his design. He ended up hiring Micheline Bernardini, a nude dancer from the Casino de Paris.[22] That bikini, a string bikini with a g-string back of 30 square inches (194 cm2) of clothes with newspaper type printed across, was introduced on July 5 at Piscine Molitor, a public pool in Paris.[14][23] Heim’s design was the first worn on the beach, but clothing was given its name by Réard.[5] History of the Men’s Bikini/Mankini

The Oh-so attractive male bikini

The term men’s bikini is used to describe types of men’s swimsuits, men’s underwear, or similar garments. Men’s bikinis can have both high or low side panels, string sides or tie sides, and most lack a button or flap front. Many do not have a visible waistband like briefs. Suits less than 1.5 inches wide at the hips are less common for sporting purposes and are most often worn for recreation, fashion, and sun tanning. An example of this style, known as the posing brief, is the standard for competitions in the sport of bodybuilding. Male punk rock musicians have performed on the stage wearing women’s bikini briefs.[46] The 2000 Bollywood film Hera Pheri shows men sunbathing in bikinis, who were mistakenly believed to be girls from a distance by the protagonist.[47] Now, this is not to be confused with the mankini.

Borat in Mankini

Mankini is a type of sling bikini worn by men. It was popularized by Sacha Baron Cohen when he donned one in the film Borat. The buzz around the film started building during the Cannes Film Festival in May 2006, when Baron Cohen posed in character on the beach in a neon green mankini, alongside four models.[50] According to one fashion expert, suspenders combined with bikini briefs or panties form an unaesthetic pattern.[51] According to another, the Borat connection with the style has made it a bit humorous.[52] Information Courtesy of Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini.