Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Bikini, by Bolles


I've previously argued, only half seriously, that Enoch Bolles deserves some credit for inventing the bikini. But after reading a bit about its official history, I'm of a different mind. Now I am convinced that Bolles did indeed invent the bikini. First, let's agree that the combination of two piece outfits involving modest amounts of cloth and immodest attributes of the wearer have been around for a long time, and Bolles likely cribbed some of his ideas from the Romans (see below). However, the bikini wasn't officially invented until 1946 by the automobile engineer/fashion designer (that makes a whole lot of sense) by the name of Louis Réard. Yet above right is a similar design by Bolles from 1941 and in the montage below there are examples from the 1930s, including a thong (!!) from 1933. Réard couldn't even get French runway models to wear his "atom" suit but Bolles' designs were in the public eye long before.



So let's give credit where credit where credit is due, to our man Bolles.














The original inspiration?

5 comments:

Mariana said...

Those bikini designs are EXTREMELY risqué! Even for today's standards, or maybe especially for today's standards. The topless fashion of the 70's is gone, nobody has the nerve to do it anymore.

Jack R said...

I had no idea these designs were still so edgy (well a few of them). Just imagine how they were perceived back in the 1930s. You wouldn't think these magazines would be controversial, but people went to jail for selling them. So, Mariana, do you think Enoch deserves some credit for the bikini?
Jack

Mariana said...

I really couldn't say, I wish I knew more about the history of fashion. I imagine a lot of the clothes we saw in those pre-code movies (as well as in "naughty" magazines) had nothing to do with how people dressed in real life, they were a fantasy. Maybe illustrators like Enoch can take credit for being the first ones to come up with the idea, but only those designers who managed to persuade real people to wear them, as people reason it only counts when clothes are worn in real life. Not fair! :)

Mariana said...

"only those designers who managed to persuade real people to wear them" get the credit, I meant to say.

Jack R said...

That makes sense to me, though even after it was 'invented' it took a long time for the bikini to be accepted. Initially Réard could talk only one model to wear it and she became famous because of it.