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Bikini top

Date: 1950s
260 x 350 mm, 0.2 lb. (0.08 kg)
Medium: Cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Swimming suit
Object No: 00039520

User Terms

    The high waisted shorts and structured top of this two piece design allowed modesty for the wearer, while following women's fashions of the period. Ladies 1950s daywear trends are reflected in the frill detailing at the centre of the bust.
    SignificanceThis two piece swimsuit is rare example of 1950s beachwear fashions produced by Dalth Murray.
    HistoryThe two piece swimsuit, made famous by starlets such as Ava Gardner, emerged during the war time years of the 1940s. Its modest design was less about a motivation to shock, than fabric saving necessity. The two piece of this period usually covered the naval, unlike the more daring bikini that was not to gain widespread popularity until the 1960s.

    The bikini was designed in 1946, and named after the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, where on July 1 of that year the US Army performed a series of nuclear bomb tests.

    The bikini marked a reaction to the constraints of heavily structured swimsuits popular in the 1940s and 1950s. It represented freedom, with the body exposed rather than dominated by the swimsuit. The release of beach movies such as 'Gidget' and 'How to Stuff a Wild Bikini' during this period also played their part in inspiring a following.
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