July 5: The Bikini

MichelineBernardiniLadies and gentlemen storm the beaches and rejoice, for today we celebrate the bikini, which made its debut today in 1946.

Although there is evidence that primitive versions of the two piece swimsuit existed as far back as the days of Ancient Greece, the modern bikini was designed by French mechanical engineer Louis Réard who first unveiled it on July 5, 1946 at the famous Parisian pool Piscine Molitor. Réard named the skimpy swimsuit after the Bikini Atoll, as he expected the bikini would be just as shocking as the atomic bomb tests being done at the Atoll.

Réard ran into two small snags on his way to making fashion history: 1) Fashion designer Jacques Heim had already started promoting a swimsuit called the “Atome” which he called the “world’s smallest swimsuit.” So, Réard smartly cut off the top of the bikini’s bottom, taking the unprecedented move of exposing the navel officially making it “smaller than the world’s smallest swimsuit.” 2) Réard couldn’t find a model who was willing to wear the scandalous outfit. So, after an exhaustive search he hired nude dancer Micheline Bernardini (seen here premiering the swimwear) to serve as the world’s first bikini model. As Réard expected, the bikini would make an explosion in the press, with Paris’ International Herald Tribune running no less that nine separate articles about the bikini.

So, today let’s honor the bikini with a Bikini CocktailIt’s a summery little thing and a nice refresher for lounging poolside.

The Bikini Cocktail

  • 2 ounces Vodka
  • 1 ounce Light Rum
  • 1/2 ounce milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Shake well with ice, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Tomorrow: The Lion(hearted) King


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