Saturday, 18 July 2009

Swimsuit History Video

I came across this video on You Tube. My favourite swimsuit is the Annette Kellerman design. Although the Esther Williams gold bikini is rather stunning too! Annette Kellerman was an Australian professional swimmer in the early 20th century. She hated the Victorian type swimwear that women had to wear in those days. She called them awful water overcoats and lumpy bathing suits! As she was in the public eye she was able to highlight the safety concerns she had with them and claimed they were responsible for many drownings. She travelled to Europe to compete in swimming events and also as part of a novelty act which involved diving and swimming in a huge glass tank. She began to make her own knitted swimsuits to improve her diving routines which were like knitted unitards. When she first appeared in public in one of them there was a huge reaction and she quickly became a pin up. She went to the USA in 1907 but at that time the USA had strict modesty rules and she was arrested in Boston for indecent exposure. Her crime was wearing a costume that was cut away mid thigh! She successfully argued her case in court that the suit was necessary for her streamlined swimming and the judge showed her leniency! She went on to star in shows and films and design swimwear. Esther William's film ' The Million Dollar Mermaid' was based on Annette Kellerman's life.

1 comment:

  1. I am enjoying all of your Swimsuit history postings, the video you found is great. We were always hearing about Esther Williams when I was young. It's amazing how a simple swimming costume can give us so much social history. I once designed a swimming costume for the catwalk when I was studying Fashion in the late 70's. I'll have to see if I can find the design.