The Bikini

The movement towards minimalism occurred during the war. Cutting back was a means of supporting the troops in fighting the war.This created a number of clothing items which were body dominant, or made the shape of the body the key feature. What I’m going to pause and tell you about here is no exception.

An example of bot minimalism and body dominance can be found in the creation of what we today call, The Bikini.

Two-piece bathing suits had been made prior to this movement in minimalism, but they showed very little skin — and the aesthetic of this topic was that it was to be worn without showing the belly button.
Days after the American tested the atom bomb on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall islands,  a two-piece bathing suit that exposed the belly button, created by Heim, made its debut.

Less than two weeks later, Lois Reard would debut what we’d call a string bikini, 25 years before its time.

This had several affects…
First Heim’s more-modest bathing suit caught on… and was named the bikini because of the bomb testing location. It became normal to wear a bathing suit, with your belly button showing.
Next, Read’s bikini, and others created in a similar fashion, were banned from most public beaches for several years.
And from these two we learn that while non-conformity and the desire to be “different” is always moving fashion forward, ultimately there are limits which society decides must not be crossed.  Both of the designs played with form, line, and color — but one used less fabric. Illustrating, in its ban, that at this time individuality in bathing suits was only permitted to go so far.

"L'Atom," later named the bikini

“L’Atom,” later named the bikini

The later banned "Bikini"

The later banned “Bikini”


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