On July 5, , French designer Louis Reard unveils a daring two-piece swimsuit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris. European women first began wearing two-piece bathing suits that consisted of a halter top and shorts in the s, but only a sliver of the midriff was revealed and the navel was vigilantly covered. In the United States, the modest two-piece made its appearance during World War II , when wartime rationing of fabric saw the removal of the skirt panel and other superfluous material. Meanwhile, in Europe, fortified coastlines and Allied invasions curtailed beach life during the war, and swimsuit development, like everything else non-military, came to a standstill. In , Western Europeans joyously greeted the first war-free summer in years, and French designers came up with fashions to match the liberated mood of the people. In planning the debut of his new swimsuit, Reard had trouble finding a professional model who would deign to wear the scandalously skimpy two-piece.
Evidence of bikini -style women's clothing has been found as early as BC, and the history of the bikini can be traced back to that era. Illustrations of women wearing bikini-like garments during competitive athletic events in the Roman era have been found in several locations, the most famous of which is at Villa Romana del Casale. It modeled by Micheline Bernardini , on July 5, , the name for his design borrowing from the Bikini Atoll , where post-war testing on the atomic bomb were taking place. Contestants in the first Miss World beauty pageant wore them in , but the bikini was then banned from the competition. Actress Brigitte Bardot drew attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on the beach during the Cannes Film Festival in