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Red halter neck from Robin Garland Australia two piece swimsuit

Date: 1970s
Overall: 364 x 307 x 24 mm, 44.55 g
Medium: Polyamide/Elastane
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Swimsuit top
Object No: 00046720

User Terms

    In the late 1960s former international fashion model Robin Garland began designing her own swimwear range as she could not source Australian manufactured designs that were brief enough. She also designed women's clothing ranges at her shop in Sydney's Double Bay. Her signature style was casual with a throw away elegance. Her singlets were made from two or three colours, not printed or appliqued but stitched together from separate panels.

    Her simple styles were achieved by complex cutting and sewing - making her swimsuits difficult to copy. Her minimalist suits were for well proportioned bodies.

    Garland achieved pattern effects by mixing different coloured fabrics. One of her 1972 bikinis was created from twenty-five pieces of alternately coloured textured jersey circles. Scalloped edging and diamond inserts was a signature of her 1975 swimwear range.

    In the early 1970s Garland sold to Harrods of London and by the mid 1970s she was selling her swimsuits to England, Italy, Germany and Bloomingdales in New York. She also made micro bikinis for the European market which were much briefer than the styles she sold on the Australian market.

    Garland took inspiration for her designs from magazines as well as from major fashion trends and was influenced by Ossie Clark and Yves St Laurent.
    SignificanceThese swimsuits are representative of Robin Garland's swimwear in the 1970s.
    HistoryDuring the 1970s a new body aesthetic and physical culture emerged. Fashion dictated that men's and women's bodies had to be machine-tuned and perfectly sculpted with the aid of gym workouts, aerobics and body building which in turn saw swimwear stripped of is internal structuring which had previously given untoned bodies their shape.

    Stretch fabrics used in swimwear took on satin glossy sheens, metallic hues and generally became more vibrant. String bikinis became briefer and the thong, a unisex style brief emerged in Brazil and became increasingly popular.

    Swimwear models were photographed with suntans and sun protection was low on a list of priorities. Having an all over tan reflected a more relaxed attitude to the body and a greater freedom in revealing it in public.

    The disco dance culture influenced the design of women's one-piece swimsuits with colours such as canary yellow, shocking pink, turquoise, royal blue and purple gaining currency. Suits made from silky metallic elastane could be worn on and off the dance floor and for a short time swimsuits were worn as evening wear. Ultra thin shoulder straps accentuated the line of the shoulder while high cut legs were designed to make the legs look longer.

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