Louis Réard: Inventor of the Bikini

1951 - Presentation of Louis Réard Bikinis at Molitor (Paris)


On July the 5th 1946, just a few days after the horrible US nuclear tests on the Bikini Atoll, a different kind of bomb detonated in Paris. On this day the French swimwear fashion designer Louis Réard made an invitation to a beauty competition in the public bath Molitor in Paris. At this event he introduced the smallest bathing suit of the world. He simply called it “Bikini”. It was an absolutely clever naming by Réard, since this word was still resounding throughout the land after the US nuclear tests on the Bikini Atoll. No name could have been more suitable than this one, because his “invention” detonated indeed like a real bomb.

The presentation of such a small two-piece was a real scandal at this time. The bikini, which was presented by Micheline Bernardini, a nude dancer from the Casino in Paris, covered only the most intimate parts of Bernardini’s body. So it is not surprising that the news about this scandalous garment spread across the globe.