The French designer Jacques Heim (1899 – 1967) was the first to unveil his skimpy two-piece, which the called the atome (atom). He hired a plane and had the pilot smoke-write the following words in the sky: “Atom: the world’s smallest bathing suit”. Not long afterwards, fellow Frenchman, the mechanical engineer and designer Loius Réard (1897 – 1984), trimmed away yet more fabric, hired his own skywriters and had them announce: “Bikini: smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world”.
Inspired by the news surrounding the atomic tests, Réard prepared for a bombastic launch in Paris. On July 5 of 1946 he presented his beachwear line during a beauty pageant he staged at the Molitor, a popular public swim-ming-pool-now a luxury hotel, drawing quite crowd.
It caused such a scandal that the press shied away from the subject, running only a very low-key piece on the new-fangled garment-which, rather ironically, bore a newspaper headline print on it, by the papers Réard’s big little creation, a foretaste of what post-war beaches would look like.
Despite the initial furor, the bikini didn’t take long to become the uniform for beach bunnies everywhere in the world.