December 1

1927 Birth of the first bikini model

Micheline Bernardini was an 18-year-old nude dancer at a Paris nightclub when she was chosen by designer Louis Réard to showcase his two-piece bathing suit which he dubbed “bikini” after a recent atomic bomb test site. Réard had been unable to find a reputable runway model to display his suit so he cast an eye on one for whom wearing clothes  was an exciting novelty.

Pictured at a public swimming pool in July 1946, Mademoiselle Bernardini is holding a little box into which her entire costume could be packed.

Beard’s creation was by no means the first two-piece bathing suit but its extreme brevity, particularly on the buttocks, and the clever name choice caused a sensation and spawned a whole industry.

La Bernardini later moved to Australia where she worked at the Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne. She married an American soldier and moved to the United States.

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