Moment 20: Bikinis Beckon

The two-piece swimsuit became more mainstream as designers Louis Réard, Jacques Heim and Rudi Gernreich continued to modernize them.

Rudi Gernreich works on one of his many versions of the bikini in 1968

Rudi Gernreich works on one of his many versions of the bikini in 1968.

Photo By Nick Ackerman

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD 100 issue 11/01/2010

The bikini was no longer jaw-dropping beach attire by the time Rudi Gernreich’s tricked-out suspender version landed on the front page of WWD in the summer of 1962. Featuring black trunks and a red bra in elasticized wool knit, it was a tame predecessor to the designer’s later iteration that kept the suspenders but lost the bra. On June 3, 1964, WWD ran a photo of Gernreich muse Peggy Moffitt wearing the much-hyped topless shocker shot by her husband, William Claxton. The picture was released to a handful of news organizations. “With a beautiful trim and up bosom, it is lovely,” the paper raved, but later retracted its enthusiasm: “It was a big bust, but we didn’t see it. Nobody did.”

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