The fashion evolution of today's barely there bikini

THE first recording of swimwear being used was the bathing suits used in public bath houses. Prior to that people swam in the nude.

By the end of the 15th century more people started to cover up while swimming but mostly in bloomers and black stockings rather than swimsuits.

In the 18th century most men were still swimming in the nude but women wore long linen shirts.

The first bathing suits were made of wool and cotton in either red, blue or black and were quite heavy when wet.

The suits covered the whole body as getting a tan was not fashionable.

The one-piece suit was quite popular by the end of the 19th century and had a collar and pants reaching the knees.

While the swimsuit evolved slowly through the ages it wasn't until just after the Second World War and the invention of the bikini that the industry was revolutionised.

French engineer Louis Reard named his invention after Bikini Island, the site for nuclear testing in the hope it would be just as explosive.

The bikini shocked and titillated at the same time and was banned in several countries.

The 1950s saw the addition of lycra, while men started wearing nylon trunks.

Today it is a multi-billion dollar business.

 

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