The Evolution of the 20th Century Bathing Suit
THE MEDIA made a big to-do in 1996 about the alleged 50th anniversary of the bikini. But consider this mural, circa 200 A.D., found in Sicily’s Piazza Armerina. It shows about a dozen women at play, wearing what are unmistakably bikinis — two-piece suits with green or red strapless bandeaux bra tops and hip-hugging bottoms.
So much for that vaunted golden anniversary.
Ladies Home JournalMost of what we know about fashion before the invention of photography we gleaned from surviving art and written works. But fashion firsts from the distant past, like the Sicily bikini girls, often get dismissed. In our chauvinistic, Western-centric point of view, we don’t care about what happened even 50 years ago, let alone 1,000. Nothing “counts” unless it happened in our own lifetime.