What does the word “bikini” mean, anyway? Does “bi” stand for “two” and “kini” stand for piece? You might think so (we certainly did!), but it’s not true at all. The word “bikini” comes from the name of a Micronesian island named Bikini Atoll. And the bikini wasn’t even invented there – it was invented in Paris by Parisian fashion designer Louis Réard, just two weeks after Bikini Atoll was the site of a nuclear test.
Réard named his revealing two-piece creation “the Bikini” for its explosive effect on anyone that viewed it. And it made quite a stir amongst everyone, including the models he asked to wear it! Most models turned it down for being too revealing, until a model named Michèle Bernadini stepped up to the challenge. Below she can be seen wearing Réard’s creation poolside for the Paris fashion press in 1946.
We don’t think the original bikini seen here is the most flattering suit for Ms. Bernadini, but we love that designer Réard took the risk and made a suit that was so ahead of its time! It took a while after that for bikinis to catch on, but boy are we glad they finally did!