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Women's Helco bloomer style swimsuit

Date: 1950s
Overall: 690 x 380 mm, 0.15 kg
Display dimensions: 660 x 315 mm
Clothing size: 34
Medium: Cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00003382
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This fully lined cotton swimsuit has a half skirt for modesty, a sweet heart neckline, and adjustable shoulder straps with opalescent plastic buckles that are fixed at the centre of the back. Made by the Australian swimwear manufacturer Helco in the 1950s, the swimsuit's bold abstract pattern includes two wire stays sewn into the bodice, elasticised legs and a shirred back.

    SignificanceThis swimsuit is a rare, representative example of women's beachwear fashions produced in Australia by Helco in the 1950s.
    HistoryIn the 1950s and early 1960s swimsuits and sunsuits were often shaped with paneling and built-in supports in order to create a curvaceous, ultra-feminine silhouette that emphasised the bust, waistline and hips. Known as a 'constructed' swimsuit, they were first developed by a Canadian designer, Rose Marie Reid, in the 1940s.

    Various swimwear designers drew on engineering and corsetry technology incorporating internal wiring, padding and elastic panels to achieve a sculptured cantilevered bust over a pinched-in 'wasp' waist. This voluptuous look was championed by film sirens Brigitte Bardot, Jayne Mansfield, Jane Russell, Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Women's one piece swimming costume with geometric pattern in pink, orange, green, black and white

    Web title: Women's Helco bloomer style swimsuit

    Related People
    Maker: Helco

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