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Women's Sargood Gardiner swimsuit

Date: c 1934
Overall: 710 x 480 mm, 0.35 kg
Clothing size: 40
Medium: Wool
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Belle Burbidge
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00001532
Related Place:Queensland,

User Terms

    Sargood Gardiner's 1934 swimwear range featured elastic-knit wool swimsuits that followed the 1930s trend for low backs. Styles also incorporated full skirts, two-tone plaited trimming, and plaited belts with self adjusting double-ring buckles made from polished plastic. The designer's aim was to create swimsuits that gave the wearer a firm and trim bust line, without gaping at the underarms.

    SignificanceThe swimsuit is a representative example of beachwear designs produced in Australia during the 1930s. It was worn by Belle Burbidge at Maroochydore and other Queensland beaches.
    HistoryThe 1930s saw both men and women revealing more of the body, which was a trend encouraged by the new craze for sun bathing. The body's aesthetic was functional, sleek and streamlined. Men finally went topless, wearing swimming trunks and belted wool knit shorts with a half skirt for modesty. Women's swimsuits went backless, and were often accessorised with coloured rubber surf caps to complete the streamlined look of the outfit.

    Knitted one piece close-fitting swimsuits, known as maillots, defined the 1930s fashion for women's swimwear. Their design, often featuring a scooping back, followed the trend of women's evening dresses of the period. The look was simple and elegant, creating soft curves that contoured the body. Attention was drawn to the back by the use of different types of shoulder straps such as halter-necks, cross straps and cutaway straps. The French designer Elsa Schiaparelli patented a backless maillot with a built in bra to promote strap-free tanning.

    This new body shape reflected changes in the political climate of the time, with the growing emancipation of women in the home and at work. Such changes were communicated through contemporary swimwear fashion, however it was not until the end of the 1930s that the maillot was generally accepted into public view.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Women's Sargood Gardiner swimsuit

    Assigned title: Black woollen swimming costume

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