More (Fabric) Is More

Photo: Danny Kim. Photographed at the NY Health and Racquet Club, 39 Whitehall St, New York, NY 10004

Jantzen coins the term “swimming suit” (formerly bathing suit) and debuts its iconic Diving Girl logo.

Esther Williams, a.k.a. the Million Dollar Mermaid, popularizes the aqua-musical.

The first-ever Barbie doll arrives wearing a strapless zebra-striped bathing suit.

Disney requests Mouseketeer Annette Funicello wear a one-piece in a series of beach-party movies—even Bikini Beach.

Designer Rudi Gernreich debuts the scandalous breast-baring monokini.

A Charlie’s Angels poster depicting Farrah Fawcett in a red one-piece sells over 12 million copies. (The suit is now at the Smithsonian.)

Pam Anderson’s tank-suit-wearing lifeguard, C. J. Parker, slow-jogs into living rooms on Baywatch.

The birth of the Burqini: a hooded, full-body swimsuit for beachgoing Muslims.

Speedo’s ultra-streamlined LZR Racer is called “drugs on a hanger” after swimmers set 22 new world records.

July 2010
The modern-day monokini—a one-piece with liberal cutouts—enters the mainstream.

February 2011
Jennifer Lawrence’s streamlined Calvin Klein Oscar gown draws obvious Baywatch parallels.

April 2011
The one-piece reigns at the Coachella festival, a perennial bellwether for summer trends (see jean shorts, 2010).

See Also:
Seven Swimmable, Baywatch-able Tank Suits

More (Fabric) Is More