5th July 1946 – The French designer Louis Réard introduces the world’s first bikini at a beauty contest held around a swimming pool in Paris. Réard is unable to find a willing model to wear the new creation, and so he recruits a strip dancer from the Casino de Paris named Micheline Bernardini. He names the skimpy suit after the American A-bomb test which occurred a week earlier on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Rival French designer Jacques Heim debuts his version of the bikini that summer as well calling it the “Atom” after the atomic bomb.

Micheline Bernardini: The nude dancer who became the first bikini model. 5th July 1946 in Paris (Alac, 2002).


Micheline Bernardini wearing the first bikini designed by Louis Reard.


Alac, P. (2002). The Bikini: A cultural history. Hong Kong: Parkstone Press Ltd