Just the year after Second World War,1946, fabric shortage was a major concern. Two French designers – Jacques Heim and Louis Réard – almost simultaneously launched their new two-piece swimsuit ranges. Heim launched his two-piece swimsuit in Paris which he called the atome, after the smallest known particle of matter. He advertised the Atome as the world’s “smallest bathing suit”. At about the same time, Louis Réard created a competing two-piece swimsuit design, which he called the bikini, taking the name from the Bikini Atoll
where, four days earlier, the United States had initiated its first peace-time nuclear weapons test as part of Operation Crossroads.
The Bikini, with a total area of 30 square inches (200 cm2) of cloth. When he was unable to find a model willing to showcase his revealing design, Réard hired Micheline Bernardini, a 19-year old nude dancer from the Casino de Paris. Bernardini received 50,000 fan letters. This was on July 5th a day after Fourth of July liberation and celebration.
Réard said that “like the [atom] bomb, the bikini is small and devastating”.In advertisements he declared the swimsuit could not be a genuine bikini “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.” I thought only Dhakai muslin, mulmul khas, had the distinction of passing through the ring test for original version.
Happy Fourth of July everyone