In 1946 was presented the first bikini in Paris and he shocked the whole world.

It is in Ancient Greece that the first bikini was born. After centuries of oblivion, it reappears in 1947 on the French beaches.

His name, bikini, is based on the first American nuclear test five days before her parade, in Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands. A hot swiming wear, “atomic”, intended for “bombs”,

Bomb at the bikini atoll

Bombs in a swimsuit
for a swimsuit that will make
the effect of a bomb

Bomb with bikini
Loouis Reard

It is with this hope that the Frenchman Louis Reard, who runs a lingerie shop in Paris, gives his creation 2 pieces called Bikini.
Even before his official presentation at at Piscine Molitor, a popular public pool in Paris at the time, the play is scandalous; no professional model accepts to wear this little piece of fabric that reveals too much flesh for a French yet prudish, forcing Réard to hire … a stripper from the Casino de Paris. Because it is not so much the top, which looks like the two-piece popular 1940s, which creates the controversy but the bottom, which outrageously denudes hips and buttocks.


  • Neolithic: the women of Çatal Höyük, in present-day Turkey, wear the first clothes resembling bikinis around 7000 BC. AD
  • 1400 BC J.C .: In ancient Greece, sports women wear mini two-piece clothes.
  • 300 ap. J.-C: The mosaics of Villa del Casale, Sicily, show women wearing mini panties and a thin bandeau on the breasts. They are among the oldest representations of a bikini.
  • 19th century: Unthinkable to disclose the slightest bit of skin on the beaches; women hide their bodies, especially in "mobile bath cabins".
  • 1907: Australian swimmer and comedian Anette Kellerman adopts a sleeveless bathing suit, which has been fined in Boston, USA. The fashion of the swimsuit "one piece" is launched
  • 1932: Jacques Heim designed the first two-piece swimsuit, consisting of a high-waisted shorts that hides the navel.
  • July 5, 1946: The first bikini, with mini panties cut under the belly button, is presented at a bathroom article fashion show in Paris. Scandal.
  • 1949: The sultry bikini is forbidden on the beaches of France, but also of Belgium, Spain and Italy.
  • 1953: Brigitte Bardot is photographed in a bikini on the beach of Carlton, at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • 1962: Ursula Andress comes out of the water in a white bikini in "James Bond vs. Dr. No"
  • 1967: 67% of young American women adopted the bikini according to Time magazine.

Brigitte Bardot is photographed in a bikini on the beach of Carlton, at the Cannes Film Festival.

THE bikini worn by Ursula Andress as she emerged from the sea in one of the most famous scenes from the James Bond films, had been sold at auction for £41,125 on 14 february 2001.


Ursula Andress comes out of the water in a white bikini in “James Bond vs. Dr. No”

In 1946 was presented the first bikini in Paris. He shocked the whole world, even going as far as being banned in France and on other Mediterranean beaches in 1949. Hot, subversive, carefree, it is the fifties and the sixties acidulated that she tells, this mythical piece, inseparable from the hallucinating bodies of Brigitte Bardot or Ursula Andress. How and why did the bikini redefine the contours of our femininity, but also dictated new aesthetic standards?

Louis Reard was right: symbol of the emancipation of women that is announced, the bikini will take everything in its path.

Yet history teaches us that Réard did not invent anything. And that our ancestors seemed much less chichiteux on the morality and the nudity of the bodies.

On the left, swimsuits in 1890 in the United States. A few decades earlier, in 1847, the mayor of Arcachon had clearly defined the limits of decency for bathers, forcing women to be “in a dress also taking the neck and down to the heels, or ‘a short dress but with pants’. That men and women could bathe side by side made him fear words or indecent gestures.

On the right, A vintage photo of Micheline Bernardini, wearing the “scandalous” bikini. She received more than 500, 000 fan mail.The bikini was so small it could fit into a matchbox, like the one she’s holding.