(Marilyn Monroe 1965)

While two-piece bathing suits may have existed since the Greco Romans, French car engineer Louis Réard created the modern bikini in May 1946. He named it after the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests, assuming people would be shocked by their revealing nature. Girls and women may flock to the beach in bikinis without much thought these days, but back then showing off your belly button was surprising and even scandalous. We all know how tricky it can be to find the perfect two-piece swimsuit (Bo Derek and Farrah Fawcett looked fab, but they rocked one-pieces!), so we’re paying tribute to the most iconic bikinis in history that got us bathing beauties where we are today. Happy 65th, birthday, bikini! May you retain your beauty and elasticity for many years to come. Marilyn Monroe flaunted her curves in a ruffle-trimmed polka-dot two-piece circa 1951. Who knew that this style would make a return?

(Ursula Andress in “Dr. No,” 1962.)
(Bridgette Bardot in “The Girl in the Bikini,” 1952)    
When the first Bond girl emerged from the ocean in a white bikini with a knife belt, men and women alike watched in awe.Also known as “Manina, la fille sans voiles” and “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter,” this French film kick-started Bardot’s career and the popularity of two-piece swimsuits. 

(Raquel Welch in ”One Million Years B.C.,” 1966)

This prehistoric, fur-trimmed bikini wasn’t designed to get wet, but it sure received a lot of attention. Also, how smoking is Welch’s body? Yowza.


The first “Sports Illustrated” Swimsuit Issue, 1964

Editor Andre Laguerre came up with the concept of an annual issue of babes in bikinis to boost sales in the winter months, which have less sporting events on the calendar. Berlin-born model Babette March appeared on the first cover (and a five-page spread) and the issue is credited with legitimizing the bikini.


Carrie Fisher in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” 1983

Princess Leia’s metal and leather bikini showed off her figure that was previously hidden under cloaks and tunics. But then again, anyone would look hot next to Jabba the Hutt.


Annette Funicello in “Beach Party,” 1963

In the first of many beach party films, this bikini-clad girl partied in the sand with her on-screen boyfriend, Frankie Avalon. Before wearing a two-piece she was the star of the original “Mickey Mouse Club.”


Elizabeth Taylor

The late screen queen looks picture perfect in her lovely silvery-blue one-piece. We know it’s not a bikini but it’s just too beautiful not to put in.


Salma Hayek in ”From Dusk Till Dawn,” 1996

Pre-Britney Spears, this seductive club performer danced with a snake and snapped into vampire mode, a scene guys won’t soon forget.


Sally Field as Gidget 1965

As ’60s surfer girl Gidget, Sally Field rocked the itsy bitsy teenie weenie stunning bikinis.


Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in ‘Tomb Raider’ 2011

As the buff and fearless beauty in Tomb Raider, Ms Jolie showed us how to explore the world in a just a bikini.


Demi Moore in ”Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” 2003

While Cameron Diaz worked her white bikini on the surf, it was 41-year-old co-star Demi Moore clad in a black bikini that really turned heads and put the famous actress back on the map.


Halle Berry in “Die Another Day,” 2002

The Oscar-winning actress paid tribute to Ursula Andress in a similar orange bikini with a knife belt. It wasn’t quite as awesome as the original, but still made an impression.

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