The Bikini swimsuit

A little over a billion Swimsuits are sold every year around the world, including 23 million in France.

The Swimsuit season, which runs from April to September, is short. During this period 85% of the annual volume of Bikinis flies off the shelves.

Swimsuits are generally made from polyamide – a petrochemical by-product – and elastane or lycra, a component which lends elasticity to the fabric. These materials replaced wool and cotton at the beginning of the 20th century, two materials which had the disadvantages of not being waterproof and making the swimsuits get out of shape on contact with water. is therefore being innovative by offering you a complete collection of ultra Sexy Bikini swimsuits made from charmeuse (shiny veil), fishnet (tulle) and metal- coloured lycra. These new, light and extremely comfortable materials used for the fabrication of our String Bikini, Mini Bikini, Micro Bikini (Microkini), Hot Bikini and Brazilian Bikini swimsuits, (whether as Beach Bikinis or Fashion Bikinis), will definitely inspire you.

Although the fabric used in the making of Swimsuits decreases year on year, the Bikinis have made a place for themselves in the ready-to-wear industry. Their sales have increased by 6% over the last three years. This craze is probably the result of the efforts made by the style houses to renew their collections.

The savoir-faire needed to make a Swimsuit, which is similar to that of lingerie, is extremely complex. Experienced hands are vital for the stitching. The latter must be able to withstand contact with water, which is a complex operation to make with a machine.

To the delight of men everywhere, women represent 70% of the Swimsuit market.

Women today are more liberated and a lot less prudish. There are Bikinis for all tastes. Their change and development has progressed with the change and development in attitudes. The Bikini swimsuit today is no longer simply a bathing accessory, but an accessory for seduction, almost to the same extent as lingerie, which it strongly resembles. The trend of the sexy Brazilian Bikini has become more accessible and very fashionable in countries like ours. You can find some attractive colours and elaborate cuts: originality definitely dominates the Bikini market. Your Sexy Bikini can be matched to the colour of your skin, as well as to your Pareo and possibly your jewellery, make-up, etc… Even on the beach, you have to be pretty, sexy and stylish! However, the choice of a Swimsuit remains a question of taste.. and personality! Indeed, some women are more shy than others...

The history of the Bikini swimsuit

Contrary to what you might think, the sandy shores of the sea front have not always been packed with bathers. Up until the 18th century, the sea was something to be frightened of and Westerners kept well away from it. They barely come close to the shore, preferring to build their houses further away. Asians, however, for whom water has always been part of certain spiritual rituals, were the only ones at the time to dare to practice the spiritual cleansing of the body with water, or the total immersion of the body in water.

A little later on, the remedial virtues of the sea, attributable to its saline and mineral properties, were recognised for certain diseases. Bathing therefore remained, above all, a therapeutic treatment recommended for the sick and those likely to have caught rabies. Interestingly, a dictionary from the beginning of the 18th century gives the following definition of the word bather: “Those who are bitten by a dog with rabies go to bathe in the sea.” Bathing was also recommended for women of the city, who were not particularly active and suffered health problems due to their tight corsets.

Although, by the end of the 19th century, everyone was aware of the therapeutic virtues of bathing in the sea, it remained an activity exclusively reserved for the rich and it was not until 1950 that the activity of bathing became popularised.

In 1915, it was no longer necessary to have a medical prescription to bathe, even if the therapeutic bathing trend persisted. To have a quick dip though was not a simple affair: you had to follow a strict protocol which required that you throw one or two buckets of water over yourself before entering the water; that you dive quickly into the water and that you only stay 5 to 10 minutes before getting out to take a walk to warm up. During this period, bathing was done dressed in everyday clothes and women wore long dresses and swimming hats.

When going to bathe, it was common practice to call upon a bathing guide, who helped the bather and made sure that there were no problems (even if the latter often didn’t know how to swim, as it was not considered an essential part of their job). Those who were not particularly confident swimmers could also use the ropes that had been placed in the sea, a bit like stair hand-rails. As for those who were ‘prescribed’ a visit to the seaside, they bathed in a wooden cabin with wheels that you wheeled into the sea. The water entered by the cracks between the planks of wood.

Towards the end of the 19th century, a bathing costume was defined: it was a unisex, 6-piece, darkly coloured costume which came in the shape of a tunic over puffed trousers. This was followed by the leotard, which was worn by men, but which extended to the fairer sex due, in part, to Anne KELLERMANN, the first world swimming champion of the 1912 Olympic Games who had the audacity, that year, to wear the men’s swimsuit for the first time. As for the skin-tight swimsuit, its invention was attributed to a Parisian hosier maker who apparently made creations for the dancers of the Paris Opera. With time, and the popularisation of the sporting activity, the swimsuit tended to simplify and become an originally-styled fashion accessory.

Louis REARD, a former car engineer, invented the Bikini and presented it for the first time in Paris on 5 July 1946 at the Molitor swimming pool. It was worn by Micheline BERNARDINI, a famous nude dancer from the Casino de Paris. He claimed to have chosen the name of Bikini in reference to the atoll of the same name on which a nuclear explosion had taken place just five days before, in the hope that the trend effect of this new product would be comparable to that of the recent explosion. With an identical play on words in French and English: “the Bikini, the first anatomic bomb!”, Louis REARD registered a patent to protect his creation. The Pompeian people, however, were already well aware of this item of clothing more than 2,000 years ago.

The Bikini, defined as "smaller than the smallest swimsuit in the world", was not easily accepted by the moral and religious authorities of the time. It did not obtain instant success on its creation; it was a cultural shock, and the fiery Bikini swimsuit was even prohibited on some European beaches.

French prefectures went as far as to ban the Bikini on the Atlantic coast (and not on the Mediterranean coast? Politics always has reasons that reason does not!). Then, in 1968, with the wave of sexual liberation that characterised that decisive year, Rudi GERNREICH exploded the hypocrisy and revolutionised the trend by inventing the Monokini!

1964 was the date of the first Bikini collection to include a swimsuit that left the breasts uncovered. The press were frantically excited. Its reputation was made. It was not until its second launch at the beginning of the 1960s that Louis REARD became popular and represented one of the greatest phenomenons in fashion. In 1956, Brigitte BARDOT brought the Bikini to our attention in the film ‘And God Created Woman’ in which she wore one made of toile de vichy (linen material). Many young French girls wanted to imitate her. A special song was even dedicated to her: Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Brian HYLAND, which was then recorded in French by Dalida as well as by Brigitte BARDOT and Richard ANTHONY (Itsy bitsy, petit Bikini).

In 1962, the actress Ursula ANDRESS made a world success of the Bikini in the film ‘Dr. No’: dried, her famous white Bikini was sold at auction at Christie's in 2001 for the sum of £41,250. In the past, the Bikini swimsuit was made of wool, cotton and jersey, but the technological progress of the last few decades has enabled more practical fabrics to be developed. The first of these is lycra, which was extremely popular in the 70s, but which was soon to be replaced by supplex and microfibres, which dominate the current swimsuit and Bikini market.

The Bikini today

After the ‘topless’ trend of the 70s, the Brazilian and String Bikini trend of the 1980s-1990s, the Bikini of the 21st century comes in all styles and combinations. With its different shapes, fabrics and patterns, it has adapted to the female curves to enhance the beauty of your body and satisfy the mermaid within you! Tan-through swimsuits even exist today which let UV rays shine through. makes all its Bikini swimsuit models out of four different materials in eighteen different colours.

  • • Lycra (elastane), flexible, silky and pleasant to touch.
  • • Charmeuse (shiny veil), silky, shiny, ultra-light and transparent on contact with water.
  • • Fishnet (very light tulle), finely hemstitched, thin, light and tan-through.
  • • Metallic lycra, metallic reflections, silky, comfortable and fashionable.


To be the Sexiest on the beach this summer, choose your style of Bikini among our collection of Bikini swimsuits: String, String Bikini, Mini Bikini, Thong Bikini, Micro Bikini (Microkini), G-String, Hot Bikini, Brazilian Bikini, (whether as a Beach Bikini or a Fashion Bikini) and then choose the material that you want and sculpt yourself the body of a goddess!!!

Sealinea has drawn its sources from the following articles:

Journal du Textile (No. 1963)

Franchise-Magazine (juin 2007) Par Anne-Laure Allain

Article écrit par Anastasia (2006)

Les Echos n° 16930 du 30 Juin 1995

La grande histoire du Bikini de Patrik Alac

Les carnets de la mode, Olivier Saillard, Editions du chêne