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Top of women's two piece Watersun swimsuit

Date: 1963-1964
Overall: 285 mm, 0.1 kg
Medium: Cotton, plastic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ada swimwear
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00008324

User Terms

    This two piece 'Miss Aries' swimsuit formed part of Watersun's Summer 1963-64 'Galaxy Collection.' The striped searsucker suit has been lined with white cotton, and the elasticised back fastens with a button. Women's daywear trends of the period are reflected in the use of details such as the pleated front panel, small high-necked collar and faux mother of pearl buttons down the front.

    SignificanceThis two piece swimsuit is representative of 1960s beachwear fashions produced by Watersun in Australia.
    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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