Micheline Bernardini

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Micheline Bernardini
Modeling the first bikini on July 5, 1946 at the Piscine Molitor in Paris.
Born (1927-12-01) 1 December 1927 (age 90)
Colmar, France
Nationality French
Occupation Model

Micheline Bernardini (born 1927) is a French former nude dancer at the Casino de Paris who agreed to model, on July 5, 1946, Louis Réard's two-piece swimsuit, which he called the bikini, named four days after the first test of a nuclear weapon at the Bikini Atoll.[1]

Réard's bikini[edit]

Designer Louis Réard could not find a runway model willing to showcase his revealing design for a two-piece swimsuit. Risque for its time, it exposed the wearer's navel and much of her buttocks. He hired Bernardini, an 18-year-old nude dancer from the Casino de Paris, as his model.[2][3] He introduced his design, a two-piece swimsuit with a g-string back made out of 30 square inches (194 cm2) of cloth with newspaper type pattern, which he called a bikini, at a press conference at the Piscine Molitor, a popular public pool in Paris in July 1946.[4]

Photographs of Bernardini and articles about the event were widely carried by the press. The International Herald Tribune alone ran nine stories on the event.[5] The bikini was a hit, especially among men, and Bernardini received over 50,000 fan letters.[6]

Later life[edit]

Bernardini later moved to Australia. She appeared from 1948 to 1958 in a number of revues at the Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne.[7][8] Footage of her 1946 modeling appearance was featured in an episode of the reality television series Love Lust titled The Bikini, in 2011.[9]


  1. ^ "Operation Crossroads: Fact Sheet". Department of the Navy—Naval History and Heritage Command. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Rosebush, Judson. "Michele Bernadini: The First Bikini". Bikini Science. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 17, 2008. 
  3. ^ Mitchell, Emily. "The Bikini Turns 50" Time (July 1, 1996)
  4. ^ "Bikini introduced - Jul 05, 1946 - HISTORY.com". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 
  5. ^ Mitchell, Claudia A.; Reid-Walsh, Jacqueline (2008). Girl Culture an Encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 82. ISBN 0-313-08444-0. 
  6. ^ "Bikini Introduced". A&E Television Networks. Retrieved September 17, 2008. 
  7. ^ McLeod, Alan Lindsey. R. G. Howarth, Australian Man of Letters, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2005, ISBN 1-932705-53-8. p.81
  8. ^ Tivoli Theatres Performing Arts Programs and Ephemera
  9. ^ The Bikini on IMDb