Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Bikini and the Tease

Today the bikini turns 61. As Slate reveals the bathing suit made an international splash, but was considered too risque for most Americans. It wasn't until the early Sixties that the bikini became popular at American pools.

Then another fashion designer pushed bareness even further with a topless bathing suit -- Rudi Gernreich’s monokini, a bathing suit bottom held up by thin suspender-like straps that ran between the breasts. In June 1964, exotic dancer Carol Doda donned the monokini for her performance at San Francisco’s Condor Club and transformed striptease into topless dancing. Doda, who started and ended her routine in the bathing suit, never undressed. She simply presented nakedness without any pretense or story and without any concealment or peek-a-boo beforehand. It was a huge hit; lines for Doda’s show stretched down the block and topless bars popped up around the country.

Doda’s brand of dancing began the move from striptease to stripping. Eventually, the changes gave rise to gentleman’s clubs, lap dancing, pole dancing, and strip joints as we know them today. “In one evening, the formula that had defined the striptease for half a century became irrelevant,” wrote Rachel Shteir in Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show.

Just a little something to think about next time you pull on your bikini and head to the beach.

While we're celebrating birthdays today, pop over to Metrocurean and wish our pal a happy blogiversary.


Michelle Baldwin said...

In 1965 that bikini came to Denver-launched by a local dancer, Kewpie Doll- at a public picnic area. She was at a 'company picnic' for the Tropics nightclub and the owner, Warren St. Thomas, a guy famous for his publicity stunts was quoted as saying that Kewpie took her top off, "because she was hot." After that, folks flocked to the club to see the "San Francisco Jet Set Band and Denver's only Jet Girls and XXXXX Bathing Suit Girls"

Diane said...

Hello Michelle

My dad was the owner of the Tropics Night Club Warren St.Thomas.What a trip a freind of mine showed me your Blog.Drop me a line when you have time.

Jennifer said...

Kewpie was my Aunt, this is the first time I've seen her pop up when I've googled her name. Thanks!

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