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When Was the Bikini Invented?

The modern bikini got its start in 1946, when it was unveiled to the public by Louis Réard, an engineer. The two-piece swimsuit caused a scandal, and Réard had to resort to hiring an exotic dancer as his first model, but the bikini did become a success. Research indicates that the notion of a skimpy, two-piece garment that covers only a woman's breasts, buttocks and genital region dates to at least the fourth century A.D., because there are mosaics depicting women exercising in such suits.

More about bikinis:

  • Some people credit the popularity of the bikini with launching other cultural trends, including physical fitness regimens designed to create a toned, flawless body suitable for a bikini, tanning and body hair removal.

  • After modeling the first bikini, Micheline Bernardini received more than 50,000 fan letters.

  • As of 2011, it was illegal to wear a bikini in public in Barcelona, Spain, unless it was being worn on or near a beach. Violators were subject to fines.

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