The bikini makes its debut on the world's stage - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

The bikini makes its debut on the world's stage

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Most Americans have at least heard the song Itsy, bitsy, yellow polka dot bikini." It became popular as a novelty song in the summer of 1960.

Almost 15 years before that song, the bikini made its first appearance on this day at a poolside fashion show in Paris, France.

In 1945, French car engineer, Louis Reard came up with the design. At first, he could get no woman to wear the new swimsuit. Finally, a French nude dancer agreed to model it.

Bikinis were banned from worldwide beauty pageants in 1951. The Vatican declared the swimsuit to be sinful.

As for the name, four days before the swimsuit's debut the U.S. military had conducted nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll.

Designer Reard hoped his invention would be as "explosive" as that test - thus the name.