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Happy Bikini Day!

Neal Foster

Posted on July 07 2021

Happy Bikini Day!

Every July 5th is known as International Bikini Day, and it’s a day we celebrate wholeheartedly at Beachcomber Swimwear! Learn more about the gripping history of Bikini Day and find the perfect swimwear for sale to commemorate the occasion here!

History of Bikini Day

On this day in 1946, Louis Réard, Parisian Automobile Engineer and fashion designer, introduced France to the ‘Bikini’. Réard was born in 1897 in France. He spent his early life as an automotive engineer. In 1940, he took over from his mother at their lingerie business near Les Folies Bergeres, Paris. Louis spent many a day on the Saint Tropez Beaches, where he began to notice something interesting. Women would roll up the edges of their swimsuits whilst sunbathing to achieve a better tan.

Unfortunately for Réard, he was not the first to notice – nor capitalise – on this observation. Prolific theatre costume designer and French Resistance member Jacques Hiem would reveal his ‘Atome’ two-piece swimsuit in May 1946. One can only imagine Réard’s frustration as skywriters covered Paris with the phrase “smallest bathing suit”.

Réard quickly got to work on his design. Unlike the Atome, Réard created a two-piece swimsuit that exposed the midriff and utilised a g-string design on the briefs. He planned to unveil this on July 5th, 1946  but first needed two things.

First, he needed a name. Louis Réard wanted his swimsuit to be a controversial, modern and best-selling hit. Just four days prior, the first nuclear weapons test at Bikini Atoll occurred and quickly dominated the front pages. Looking to ride the media success of the event, he named his invention the Bikini.

Réard also struggled to find someone willing to model the Bikini at the Piscine Molitor, a public pool. No models would take the job, so Louis enlisted the help of 19-year-old Micheline Bernardini, a dance at the Casino de Paris.

On July 5th 1946, Bernadini and Réard were met with resounding praise and controversy at the Piscine Molitor. Countless stories made their way across the press. The phrase “Smaller than the world’s smallest bikini” flew across the sky, and over 50,000 fan letters found their way to Bernardini. Fashion writer Diana Vreeland rightly described the piece as the “atom bomb of fashion.” The Bikini quickly overtook the Atome, becoming the popular style for decades to come. Louis Réard sold the Bikini at his shop for 40 years before moving to Switzerland with his wife.

Louis Réard died in 1984.

Best Bikini For Bikini Day?

In honour of Louis Réard and the gorgeous Micheline Bernardini – we recommend a classic striped look this bikini day. Overall, we’d recommend our Underwired Bikini Top – Stripe and High Leg Brief – Stripe for a truly iconic look that harkens back to the classic Bikini. You can learn more about perfecting the striped look in our guide here.


For swimwear of all kinds, browse Beachcomber Swimwear today. We have a wide range of quality UK swimwear available, including bikinis and more. Thank you for reading!

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