Micheline Bernardini

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Micheline Bernardini
modeling the first bikini (1946)
Born (1927-12-01) 1 December 1927 (age 89)
Colmar, France
Nationality French
Occupation Model

Micheline Bernardini (born 1927) was a French nude dancer at the Casino de Paris before agreeing to model on July 5, 1946 Louis Réard's two-piece swimsuit, which he called the bikini, named days after the first above ground atomic test in the Bikini Atoll.

Réard's bikini[edit]

Designer Louis Réard could not find a fashion model willing to showcase his revealing design for a two-piece swimsuit, so he hired Bernardini, an 18-year-old nude dancer from the Casino de Paris, as his model.[1][2] 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.

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.[3] The bikini was a hit, especially among men, and Bernardini received over 50,000 fan letters.[4]

Later life[edit]

Bernardini later moved to Australia where she worked at the Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne.[5][6] She married an American soldier and moved to the United States, where she worked as an actress until 1970.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Rosebush, Judson. "Michele Bernadini: The First Bikini". Bikini Science. Retrieved September 17, 2008. 
  2. ^ Mitchell, Emily. "The Bikini Turns 50" Time (July 1, 1996)
  3. ^ Mitchell, Claudia A.; Reid-Walsh, Jacqueline (2008). Girl Culture an Encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 82. ISBN 0-313-08444-0. 
  4. ^ "Bikini Introduced". A&E Television Networks. Retrieved September 17, 2008. 
  5. ^ McLeod, Alan Lindsey. R. G. Howarth, Australian man of letters, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2005, ISBN 1-932705-53-8. p.81
  6. ^ https://www.nla.gov.au/sites/default/files/__prompt_-_tivoli_theatres_-__jan_2014.pdf