Although there's talk in the air of El Niño on the way, weekend ski swaps are starting to set up sales tents, late Fall/early Winter swells are energizing—it's hard not to have swimwear on the brain when Northern California is finally experiencing one of the most epic seasonal months of the year entire year...November—a time when one can actually have a chance at lounging around the beach a little bit longer after a surf sesh and gaining some skin color which salty friends south of Monterey County are blessed to run around with most of the year.
Having placed a few rare deadstock vintage swimsuits up in the e-shop and gathering a couple personal favorites to toss into a suitcase heading out for a working weekend with a rather elevated temperature, it seemed like a fitting first blog post to share a very brief history of swimwear.
So, for all you warm sun and sandy-bum, lycra-loving ladies (or guys) out there—this post is for you:
Photo above by George Hoyningen-Huen e, 1928
Active, healthy, athletic women became symbols of a new period of fashion as sports clothes began to appear in the twenties. This image integrates a practical & stylish 2-piece wool jersey bathing suit by Patou with pose & props which conveyed the look of an era.
By the 1930s, improvements in elasticated fabrics allowed for body-skimming bathing suits. Swimsuits no longer required an over-skirt and women opted for backless, low-cut suits with brief-style shorts.
Designers Jacques Heim and Louis Reard introduced the bikini in the summer of 1946. Although the bikini was published in Harper’s Bazaar in 1947, the skimpy two-piece bathing suit was not adopted by the general public and considered taboo until the 60s.
The swimwear of the 1950s resembled that of undergarments of the period. Strapless, boned one-pieces that nipped in the waist were worn, accentuating curves, vibrant colors and sexier feminine detailing.
In the early sixties, Bond Girl Ursula Andress sported a bikini with a hip holster throughout much of Dr. No, promoting the use of the skimpy suit. Soon after, it was accepted as fashionable swimwear.
By the mid-1970s, the skimpy bikini had lost its shock value and swimsuit styles reverted back to one pieces, however, these one pieces were just as revealing. The body was still on display through crocheted fabrics or in thong-style bottoms.
The 1980s experienced a heightened awareness in health and an exercise craze that resulted in athletic style bathing suits, also incorporating high-cut briefs and deep-v neck designs, as well as leveraging fabrics including mesh & spandex.
Photo above: Iconic Cindy Crawford photographed by Herb Ritts, 1988