|Micheline Bernardini introduces the bikini to the public, July 5, 1946.|
|Brigette Bardot in 1957.|
Micheline was willing to appear in public in the outfit, created by Jacques Heim and Louis Reard (two pieces, two creators), which gave her the shot. Other models refused. The bikini was actually around a year earlier and women of Paris wearing bikinis was featured in a photo on the cover of Life Magazine.
Micheline's suit was actually a good bit more risque than the bikini was to become over the next few years (think "Beach Blanket Bingo"), but it has become far more immodest in recent years.
The swimsuit took a while to catch on. Brigette Bardot (bless her beautiful heart and every other part of her) wore one in "And God Created Woman" and "Girl in the Bikini" in 1957, six years after bikinis were banned from the Miss World contest. Brian Hyland sang "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" in 1960 and I danced at Fleming Teen Town in Augusta with Christine Cash to its bouncy rhythm.
Sports Illustrated made the bikini the official bathing suit of the world by featuring a model wearing one on its cover in 1964 (Swimsuit Edition, which has always been controversial, bikini or not--sometimes not, meaning no bathing suit).
I will mention that when I was about 10, I saw my first live breast, but it was not in a bikini. I was at the municipal pool in the small South Carolina town where I grew up. Mike Graybill and I hung out there from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, generally emerging looking like pink raisins. A young girl, probably 16 and very much an older woman to me, had on a one-piece bathing suit that must have belonged to an older--and larger--sister. If one--"one" being me--positioned himself just right, he could look right down the front of the suit while standing behind her as she sat on the edge of the pool and leaned forward. I availed myself of the opportunity and upon inspection, immediately ran to find Mike and shared the discovery.
No bikini could have improved upon that view.