You know what July in Miami means? Swim Week–Where models are known to roam the streets and Miami Beach is graced with the presence of beautiful people, celebrities and fashion designers. Every July, swimsuit and resort wear designers gather in Miami Beach for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, the global swimwear industry’s main event.
Naturally, with the arrival of Swim Week, a plethora of beauties in Miami question how they look in a bikini. With this question arrives the thought of how the style of swimsuits along with the perception of body has changed from its origins in the 1800’s to today.
In the mid 1800’s when swimsuits were first created, women wore full-length gowns with weights sewn in the hem to keep their dresses from rising in the water. At the time, the body was viewed as sacred and women were banned from showing any skin. However, at the start of the twentieth century, as more and more women began to want to participate in water sports, such as swimming and diving, the garments became too bulky for swift swimming.
As the years progressed though, breathable cotton replaced wool jersey; and the body gradually became more exposed with rising hemlines and figure-flattering garments. When French Designer Louis Reard created the first bikini in 1946, women showing more skin became increasingly acceptable, although his bikini was still seen as provocative–made from four triangles of cotton printed with newspaper type and fitted into packaging the size of a matchbox.
As swimwear bared more of women’s figures, it also highlighted their physical problem areas, giving corset makers a reason to design swimsuits with elastic panels designed to hold in women’s stomachs and bra cups with boning for bust support.
Today, walking around in a tiny swimsuit is no longer taboo because women are encouraged to show more skin and be proud in it. The bikini is not simply a swimsuit anymore, but a public garment worn for tanning, playing, and glam our.
Nevertheless, we are proud to reside in the epicenter of the Miami Swim Week madness and are interested to see what ways designers are reinventing the swimsuit.