On the beginning of May, a tube ad brought much discussion about the pressure society puts on women to achieve the perfect bikini body. We’re so familiar with this scenario that is easy to forget how recent really is swimwear history.
The new exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum takes us to a time where women couldn’t even think of dressing down even on the beach. The idea of spending time in the ocean was only born on the late XIX and it took a century to result on a similar swimwear we are now used to see.
First beachwear were home-knitted with heavy and inconvenient fabric. It was only in 1930′ that corsetry and underwear manufactured branched out to swimwear production. And, only after the WWII that nylon was introduced to the market.
Finally, the bikini was introduced by Louis Réard in Paris 1946, but it was only popularised during the 1960’s. Men were also release from the swimwear pijamas and the tiny Speedo was created by Australian brand of the same name.
It was not until 1980’s that the bikinis reached ‘their full potential’. This was the time when sunbathing became more important to the consumers than actually swimming.
And, here we are, in a time when we can complain about the pressures of wearing tiny bikinis.
Now, where are those sunny days promised by Spring?