Mode City to celebrate 70 years of the bikini

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Mode City and Interfilière will celebrate 70 years of the bikini when it opens its doors in Lyon this July.

Building on the success of their 2015 fashion show event at the Molitor swimming pool in Paris, exhibition organisers said they are planning more surprises to honour the anniversary of the iconic two-piece swimsuit designed by French engineer Louis Réard in 1946.

“To celebrate, the trade shows will present a fun-filled programme of events throughout the city for visitors, exhibitors, buyers, and the local Lyonnais,” Eurovet announced at Salon International de la Lingerie over the weekend.

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Louis Réard was a mechanical engineer who had taken over his mother’s lingerie business near Les Folies Bergères in Paris in around 1940 and became a clothes designer.

While visiting St. Tropez beaches, he noticed women rolling up the edges of their swimsuits to get a better tan, which inspired him to design a swimsuit with the midriff exposed.

Réard’s invention was a string bikini consisting of four triangles made from 30 square inches of fabric printed with a newspaper pattern.

He introduced his new swimsuit, which he named the bikini, to the media and public in Paris on July 5, 1946 at the Molitor swimming pool, a popular public pool in Paris at the time.

Two piece swimsuits had been available since the 1930s, but Réard’s bikini was controversial because for the first time the wearer’s navel was exposed.

Mode City and Interfilière will open at Eurexpo in Lyon on July 9.

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