July 16, 2015

Swimwear trivia + Sports Illustrated & Baywatch


! the oldest representation of a pair of bikinis is in a Roman mosaic from around the year 300 depicting women playing sports, an absolute anti-trend, since in Antiquity nudity was the outfit of choice for all beach activities

! in the year 1737, all men older than 10 years of age in the British town of Bath were supposed to wear a swimsuit when they were bathing in public, while for women no precise legal recommendation existed…

! in the 18th century, beachwear was made up of ankle-length dresses, with weights sewn into their hems to prevent any accidental lifting when venturing out into the sea

! beauty pageants with a swimwear competition started gaining momentum, as a despicable and shameful activity, from the 1880s onwards, but barely since with the Miss America 1921 contest did they start making some progress when it came to respectability

! if you went to the seaside in the 1900s, in many US towns you were bound by law to pair your all-covering bathing suit with a proper pair of stockings

! the ’20s were years of trouble on the beach going front… supporters of the !one piece! bathing suit and those of modesty and, in general, decency and common sense had numerous fierce contradictory debates, including some that turned violent


! it doesn’t say anything about her personality in those uncertain times for the swimming lovers, but the first Barbie doll, in 1959, was wearing a black and white bathing suit (even if I don’t think her conservative choice of colours was taken as a sign of preference for the classic)

! the ’60s and the invention of spandex… if swimwear was hard to contain – literally and figuratively – the situation was about to change dramatically…

! Ursula Andress wore in the 1962 James Bond Dr. No movie a certain nude swimsuit… than would come to sell at Christie’s London, in 2001, for USD 61 500!

! the year 1964 of Sports Illustrated, with its first ever Swimsuit Edition made history and made it into… people’s hearts! For the next 50 years, the American magazine documented the evolution of beachwear as well as was a true barometer of who looked best wearing them.

Here is the top 5 of the most loved Sports Illustrated cover girls! Elle Macpherson, Kathy Ireland, Kate Upton, Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum!

! from 1993, the bikini is the official Olympic uniform for beach volleyball, a clear sign of emancipation and of the reality that… one-piece suits just don’t let the sand collecting into the bathing suit naturally drain out…


! Speedo is the world’s no 1 swimwear producer – it seems they got over the bad reputation created by men’s speedos…

! with 70% of all swimsuits on the world’s beaches, China is the biggest global exporter of sensuality

! USD billion 17.6 is the value estimated for the swimwear market of 2015 – not at all bad for something this small…

! the most expensive bikini in the world sells for USD 30 million and, of course, has a few diamonds totalling 150 karat set in platinum…

! according to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest gathering of people wearing swim caps – 2 049 – was seen in Tybee Island, Georgia, on 1 of January 2012 – no mention is made of what else they were wearing…

! the thongs are illegal in Melbourne, Florida since 2005, and the contravention is paid either with a USD 500 fine or by serving 60 days is prison – you could swear we’re going back in time!


! in 1932, men who gave into the temptation of the new Topper, with a zipper for detaching the top half of the costume, and just kept their bottoms, got arrested for indecent exposure

! 74 years later, in 2006, the movie Borat popularised the mankini and the full liberation of male fashion saw its (final?) breakthrough, the previous turning point being widely considered to be the (in)famous speedo

! for a more light-hearted approach of the following point, it’s good to know that 46% of men are not satisfied with their abs when it comes to going to the beach


! women would rather clean the bathroom, stay on the phone with a telemarketer, do laundry and go service the car than go buy and have to try on a bathing suit


! in the early 1900s, The Rabbit Fur Breeders of Southern California made an in-kind donation for the creation of the fur bathing suit – too bizarre for any comment

! the ’50s saw the first animal print beachwear, and the slogan was ’’If you can’t drive a Jaguar, wear one!’’

! in 1980, the thong got to us, via Rio de Janeiro, Ipanema beach, straight from the wear of the Amazonian tribes – Amazon, Amazons…

! a new model of Speedo conceived with the help of NASA, the laser, helped break down more than 200 swimming speed records in just 23 months

! a new technology, tan-through, allows through a series of pores what no other swimsuit, no matter how tiny, has ever allowed before – the perfect, line-less tan

! research for the creation of a new fabric imitating shark skin could take swimwear to new heights of performance and… sexiness


! and as far as Baywatch and the bathing suit go… there’s nothing to be said that a full episode of the world’s most uninhibited show can’t say best!



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Photos: Sports Illustrated, trendhunter.com