Sixty years ago, the bikini as an essential article of clothing for women was not even imaginable because of a sense of decency that was all too encompassing. The first bikini was created in 1946 by Louis Réard and named from an atoll of the Marshall Islands in Micronesia, where some nuclear experiments were carried out in that same year.
- In 1947, Italian movie star, Lucia Bosè showed the bikini off.
- In 1950, Sofia Loren wore one in the “Miss Italia” beauty contest and won the Elegance Award forcing Esther Williams, who at first refused to wear it in her movies, to oblige her contract to do so.
Others soon followed: Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot, to be specific, though the bikini's scantiness, in general, proved too much for America's common sense of decency. In fact, the Miss World Pageant refused to accept the bikini. Jumping on board the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s (during which men and women began to seriously reconsider the public ban of nudity), the string bikini became a popular bikini style in the 1970s. Also known as the Tanga, the string bikini was an import from the Brazilian beaches of Rio de Janeiro. It became so popular at its introduction to the United States in 1974 that Manhattan’s Bloomingdale’s sold out its entire order of 150 swimsuits in only two weeks.
Since, the popularity of the bikini spread like wildfire while the bikini itself diminished making the one worn by Lucia Bosè more like short pants and forcing women today to find ways to eliminate bikini hair – in whole or in part. On the beaches of South Florida, it is rare to see a woman wearing a bikini with pubic hair sprouting off the sides or over the top. Everyone seems to shave their pubic hair - both men and women.