Summertime style

18/07/2019 16:33

The swimsuit has evolved dramatically over the years, from modest Victorian beginnings to the stunning bikini.

As transportation systems developed and more people were able to make recreational trips to the beach, the swimsuit was born. From the 18th century into the Victorian era of the 19th century, modesty for women was the norm, and early swimwear was basically a belted dress worn over long bloomers. The material used was heavy enough to not stick to the body or billow up and float on the water. A heavy object was sometimes tied to the cuff to also help prevent floating.

It would be decades later that swimsuits evolved to become lighter, more fitting and, of course, shorter. The true milestone for the outfit came in 1907 when Australian professional swimmer Annette Kellerman introduced a truly groundbreaking bathing costume which left both arms uncovered and hugged the body tightly. Kellerman was a professional swimmer and also a famous artist of the time, but she will always be remembered in the annals of fashion for her liberating swimsuit style. At first, the outfit drew heavy criticism and the swimsuit only became truly popular several years later.

The next revolution in women’s swimsuits took place when the legendary bikini was introduced in 1946. French designer Louis Reard brought the bold and alluring look to swimwear when he designed two separate pieces for the upper and lower body. Although it created a significant change and was welcomed by a part of the public, this costume was still banned in some European countries many years later. It was only until the 1960s that the bikini really flourished and became a legendary item on the beach all over the world. Movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Bridget Bardot also fell in love with the bikini for its provocative and charming look. Bikinis became increasingly popular in daily life as well as inspirations for fashion designers in summer collections. 

Today, the  bikini remains a summertime favorite. And swimsuits continue to evolve in designs and materials, from the conservative one-piece to sporty tankini or elegant monokini. In all its forms, the women’s swimsuit is a testament to feminine beauty and a statement of individual style.

Lam Duong

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