Funny how two little syllables can strike fear into the hearts of grown women. Since women’s swimsuits dramatically reduced in size some time around the 1950s, girls have sweated, preened, plucked, waxed, and worked out in the name of these little pieces of Lycra.
As a piece of clothing women’s swimsuits have become iconic in the world of fashion, whether a one piece or a bikini. At certain stages they have gone as far as encompassing the spirit of the times and the wearer. Continental girls in bikinis spring to mind when you think of the Mediterranean.
The hard, athletic bodies of the 1980s are immediately associated with one piece racing suits. The thong is quintessential Rio de Janeiro, and synonymous with samba dancers in the annual Brazilian carnival.
Enduring images of women’s swimsuits are etched in the minds of college boys everywhere. Pamela Anderson in her red Baywatch one piece swimsuit is one of the most famous. Carrie Fisher, as Princess Leia, donned a gold bikini in Return of the Jedi and spawned a few hundred tributary websites. A Charlie’s Angels-era Farrah Fawcett wore a low legged red one piece in one of the best selling posters of the 1970s. A young swimsuit-clad Heloisa Pinheiro walked up and down Ipanema beach in Rio in 1962, and inspired Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes to compose the classic tune The Girl From Ipanema.
Couture designers have made big business from women’s swimsuits, but the designers dedicated to solely to swimwear have made its design a new art form. Brands like Australian classic Seafolly, Hawaiian designer Tamara Catz, Juicy Couture, Luli Fama, Delfina and Salinas all produce elaborate, striking swimsuits. Their ranges of swimwear just keep on expanding – most produce swimwear for girls as well as ranges of accessories, and plus size swimsuits, mastectomy and maternity swimsuits are all very easy to find.
The big concept in modern swimwear fashion has got to be freedom. Freedom to find a suit that expresses your personality. Freedom to don a suit with as much or as little coverage as you fancy, and freedom to flaunt that body of yours by the beach or pool.