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Suit Up For National Bikini Day, White Plains

Mechanical engineer Louis Réard designed the bikini, which debuted July 5, 1946.
Mechanical engineer Louis Réard designed the bikini, which debuted July 5, 1946. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Happy 70th birthday to the revealing two-piece swimwear that gets younger looking with age.

National Bikini Day is celebrated July 5 in honor of the French invention on July 5, 1946 of the two-piece bathing suit.

Parisian fashion designer Louis Réard was a mechanical engineer who had taken over his mother's lingerie business around 1940, according to history.com.

He was inspired to design midriff-revealing swimwear by women in St. Tropez rolling up the edges of their swimsuits to get a better tan.

The name 'bikini' came from news-making U.S. atomic tests that took place off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean starting July 1946.

Nude exotic dancer Micheline Bernardini was the debut bikini model. Due to the skimpiness, Réard had trouble finding a professional model to wear his design.

Bernardini reportedly received some 50,000 fan letters, mostly from men, cementing the bikini's place in fashion history.

The style immediately took off in Europe but it wasn't until the 1960s before it was accepted as a style in mainstream America.

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