4 Facts You Didn't Know About the Bikini

Exactly 70 years ago today, Louis Réard, a French designer, debuted a scandalous two-piece summer ensemble at a public pool in Paris.

Officially marking July 5 as National Bikini Day, this itty bitty bikini was first modeled by Micheline Bernardini and deemed even "smaller than the world's smallest bathing suit."

Today, we dug into the history of the bikini to give you five facts you never knew about this iconic summer staple.

1. The word "bikini" was used for the trend after a U.S. atomic test took place at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean shortly before its debut.

2. Though the 1930s and early World War II era were filled with European and American women clad in "modest two-pieces," no article of clothing (worn in public) was as revealing as Réard's creation.

3. Summer 1946 was the first summer in many years without war and with it came a wave of liberation. This new-found liberation sparked two new French fashion developments: Jacques Heim's "atom" and Réard's "bikini," which proved to be much more scant.

4. While bikinis are a continued trend in the United States, and most other parts of the world, this was not always the case. It was not until the early 1960s that the U.S. picked up on the movement with Brian Hyland's hit song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini."

NEXT: The Nightmare of Swimsuit Shopping »

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