|Intl. Notebook||Sep 30 2013|
The above images show Micheline Bernardini, the former Casino de Paris nude dancer who debuted the garment known as a bikini at a 1946 Paris beauty contest. Technically, hers was not the first. Similar garments appear on figures adorning classical Greek urns—but hey, that stuff is ancient history. The modern bikini is credited to Bernardini and designer Louis Réard. Beauty contests are an interesting phenomenon, don’t you think? They’re ultimately about sex, but nobody is supposed to say they’re about sex. It's a subject we've explored in detail before. But as weird and anachronistic as beauty contests are, we find the photos fascinating, so today we’ve dug up some vintage beauty contest pix. Among the participants below you’ll see Miss Italy winner 1951 Isabella Valdettaro (second photo). The dates on these range from mid-1940s to mid-1950s, except for the final shot which is from around 1935.