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Ladies bikini top

Date: c 1960
Overall: 295 x 400 mm
Medium: Nylon
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Swimwear
Object No: 00016487
Place Manufactured:United Kingdom

User Terms

    The high waisted pants and structured top of this two piece design allowed modesty for the wearer, while following women's fashions of the period. The fully lined garment has an inbuilt bra and the top fastens at the back with a gold metal clasp. Trimmed in white, the navy swimsuit has an appliquéd flower embellishment sewn onto the external pocket on the right hip.

    SignificanceThe garment is a rare, representative example of a British bikini manufactured in the 1960s.
    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.

    In the 1960s French designers introduced the string bikini. This style was briefer than the bikinis of the 1950s, with a string tie at the halter neck and at the hip on both sides of the triangular pants. In the 1970s the trend was towards resortwear styles with minimal coverage and details such as lace-up front bodices, cut-away shaping and tie-sides.
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