A stripper was the first woman to model a bikini…

… because no Paris fashion model would dare wear it.

First bikiniTwo weeks after the Able atomic bomb test, and one week before the Baker test, Parisian Louis Réard registers the name bikini, adopting the name of the nuclear Bikini Atoll for his latest swimsuit creation. Does the box she is holding hold the bikini? From the front Réard’s design is cut below the navel, vees up the front of the pelvis, and sports string sides. From behind the suit is, well, bare-butted. None of Paris’s fashion models will wear Réard’s creation, so it is introduced by Michele Bernadini, a nude dancer from the Casino de Paris.

Tan bikiniTanning problems are created by the abrupt diminution, both on the backstrap but especially the buttocks. Or as a Brazilian says, looking at the picture in the 1990s, “She have bum bum white!”

The Paris fashion press suggests that the bikini gets its name because it looked as if its wearer is emerging in tatters from a nuclear bomb blast, wearing what little is left over. Or perhaps the combination of half-naked south sea islanders coupled with the atomic impact strikes a chord in the haute couture, and reminds them that atom bombs reduce everybody to primitive costume. Réard simply states, “Bikini–smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world.”

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