Monday, June 18, 2007

Swimwear in the nuclear age

What do a two piece swimsuit and nuclear testing have in common? Both are connected to the summer of 1946. That bikini you're wearing is named after Bikini Atoll, a speck of land not far from my home island, Saipan. Why?

Before 1946, the modern bikini -- the two piece swimsuit with a G-string back -- did not exist. It was introduced at a fashion show in Paris on July 5, 1946. A few days earlier, out here in Micronesia, atomic testing had taken place on Bikini Atoll. Was the swimsuit really named after the island? Yes, indeed. The bikini was expected to result in a burst of excitement like unto the explosion of a nuclear device. There's something to mention at the water cooler tomorrow!


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