Countdown to Christmas – Question 17: Tuesday 17th December

The annual Victoria’s Secret TV show took place a few days ago. This is where women who are greater than 3 Standard Deviations from the norm dress in clothing that can only be worn by Victoria’s Secret models, in an attempt to make everyone else buy underwear designed for women who are within +/- 1 Standard Deviation from the norm. So, in what year did Louis Reard invent the bikini?

(a) 1926

(b) 1936

(c) 1946

(d) 1956

bikiniANSWER: 1946

Although Louis Reard is credited with naming the two-piece bathing suit with its now generic name of bikini, another designer, Jacques Heim, actually launched his version two months earlier than Reard. He called his the Atome but Reard clearly was the better marketer and took the name bikini from the Bikini Atoll – the site of the world’s first atomic bomb test. He wanted folks to associate the effect of his product as being similar to a nuclear explosion!

The word bikini comes from a Malayo-Polynesian language called Marshallese (from the Marshall Islands) or Ebon. The original word is pikinni (/pʲɨkɨnʲnʲɨj/) and means “surface of coconuts.” We kid you not!

Links

All you need to know about Marshallese from the World Atlas of Language Structures.

A History of the Bikini from the Bikini View website.

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