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Women's navy blue one piece bathing costume made by Black Lance

Date: 1936-1938
Overall: 700 x 260 mm, 0.266 kg
Medium: Wool
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from ADA Productions
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00009445

User Terms

    This style of halter neck swimsuit brought glamour to Australian beaches and pools in the 1930s. Designed by Peter O'Sullivan for Black Lance in Melbourne, its fashionable low-cut back and higher-cut leg were ideal for sunbathing. The navy swimsuit has a white cord embellishment creating a triangular pattern on the bodice, a belt fastened with white plastic double rings and a modesty skirt that could be rolled up or down.
    SignificanceThe swimsuit is a rare example of 1930s beachwear fashions produced by Peter O'Sullivan for Black Lance in Melbourne.
    HistoryPeter O'Sullivan became the first Australian to successfully design and manufacture swimwear for export to the United States. He won the world patent for the square belt buckle, known as the 'Superman' buckle, after it was incorporated into Superman's costume. He also developed the 'modesty panel', which was a small skirt that fell across the front of men's and women's swimsuits.

    O'Sullivan's Black Lance range introduced the full skirt design, offering modesty for the wearer, while allowing a higher thigh line. It became a feature of Australian and international swimwear fashions right up until the 1970s. His low cut backs, inspired by ladies day wear fashions, met official opposition, but proved to be a popular fashion statement.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Women's navy blue one piece bathing costume made by Black Lance

    Web title: Women's woollen Black Lance swimsuit

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