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Women's Paula Stafford hibiscus print bikini

Date: 1970s
Overall: 90 x 385 mm
Clothing size: 12
Medium: Synthetic fabric
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00006144
Place Manufactured:Surfers Paradise

User Terms

    Queensland designer Paula Stafford produced fashionable and daring swimwear for both men and women from her Surfers Paradise studio in the 1970s. This bikini has a bandeau top with a tie back and detachable halter neck cord that fastens at the center of the bust, giving the top its shape. The napkin-style briefs fasten with velcro at the back and have a wrap around tie at the front.

    Stafford is remembered as one of the first bikini designer/manufacturers in Australia, designing and selling bikinis on Queensland's Gold Coast from as early as 1946. She gradually expanded her business and promoted the bikini in Sydney and Melbourne and later successfully exported to the UK and Asia.

    SignificanceThis bikini is representative of women's beachwear fashions made by Queensland designer Paula Stafford in the 1970s. The style reflects developments in Australian and international swimwear design.
    HistoryAustralian Paula Stafford is credited with introducing the French two-piece swimming costume to Queensland and designing the world's first reversible bikini in the mid 1940s.

    Stafford's early bikinis were tied at the side or knotted at the front and were daringly brief compared to other swimwear on the Australian market. They challenged dress codes on Queensland and Sydney beaches where the bikini was banned in the late 1940s.

    In the mid 1950s Stafford opened a boutique in Surfers Paradise, the Paula Stafford Fiesta Tog Shop and organised Australia's first bikini fashion parade as part of the Holiday and Travel Exhibition at Sydney's Town Hall. Stafford then began supplying retailers such as David Jones, Myer, Georges and Buckleys as well as exporting to Great Britain, the United States and Hong Kong.

    By the 1970s Stafford employed sixty people in her Gold Coast based business. Her bikinis were sold world wide competing favourably with French designs. Paula Stafford retired in 1985.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Woman's Paula Stafford hibiscus print bikini

    Web title: Women's Paula Stafford hibiscus print bikini

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