The history of the swimsuit

Published on Wednesday 04 September 2019
A look back on the birth of an icon
The history of the swimsuit

In over a hundred years of existence, the one-piece swimsuit has experienced a number of evolutions. From the bathing suit that was born in the beginning of the century to its modern and revealing counterpart, Monaco Marine goes back to the origin of this summer icon.



To track down the history of the swimsuit, we must go back to the end of the 19th century. At the time, women who wanted to swim had to wear corset and bouffant trousers. A century later, the popularity of sea bathing helps lightening the bathing suit — which is then codified by the medical profession, and consists in a wool suit with a bonnet for the head.


But we certainly owe the true ancestor of the swimsuit to Australian swimmer Annette Kellermann (below). In 1907, she made a name for herself by claiming the right to be allowed to wear a swimsuit that follows the contour of the body, in order to facilitate the practice of swimming. She then created her own jersey, which was considered too revealing, although she wore it with thick tights… But the popularity of the swimsuit grew and followed the emancipation of women: a few years later, some designs already revealed the shoulders, cleavage and legs.





The bikini almost overshadowed the success of the one-piece swimsuit... but it had its glory days in the 1950s. Thanks to the emergence of lycra and built-in corsets, swimsuit design emphasized and sublimated the curves while gaining popularity, as it was worn by contemporary icons such as Marilyn Monroe.





In the following decades, the swimsuit is modernized: more revealing (like the mythical model immortalized by Farrah Fawcett), it is adorned with prints or cuts that always sublimate the silhouette.






Today, the iconic status of the swimsuit goes without saying. Omnipresent on the beach, it is constantly being reinvented by brands and creators, season after season... The proof in five modern, desirable and unique designs.



Vilebrequin designed an exclusive swimsuit for Monaco Marine, which shows a photograph of the Monaco harbour. The idea? Proclaim your love for the Mediterranean sea while changing from the classic single colored model.


Vilebrequin swimsuit, 255 euros.






Swimsuit specialist Lisa Marie Fernandez unveils a disco-inspired design with a significant asset: it is equipped with a zipper on the front, which allows to adjust the cleavage.


Lisa Marie Fernandez swimsuit, 380 euros.






Because the swimsuit does not necessarily have to feature straps, La Double J came up with an athletic model, inspired by surf suits.


La Double J swimsuit, 240 euros.



Known for her feminine and revealing pieces, designer Yasmine Eslami signs two timeless swimsuits: one featuring a cleavage that can be tied in the back, the other unveiling a halter style and a glittery bronze color.



"Lana" swimsuit by Yasmine Eslami, 130 euros.

"Marisa" swimsuit by Yasmine Eslami, 130 euros.