Have you ever wondered how we got to the bikini, tankini, monokini and all the accompanying shapes?
Recently at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, a stimulating introduction to the history of swimwear took place poolside at the exclusive Raleigh Hotel in South Beach. Gazing out on the Olympic size pool and feeling a bit of a breeze as we sipped on tropical cocktails, this look back in time was both enlightening and entertaining.
Two of the most influential brands in swimwear, XTRA LIFE LYCRA® Brand and Jantzen® swimwear, presented the history of swim, an inspirational exhibit of 24 archival images of swimwear that took us back as far as 1915 and brought us current to present year. As guests moved about, models were giving us a glimpse at the latest lovely looks from Jantzen® current swim collection, all made with XTRA LIFE LYCRA® fiber.
This exhibit traced the rise of Jantzen® to become of the most celebrated brands in the industry. Jantzen® was an early adopter of synthetics to define the bust line and to provide better ‘give’ to the suit, but it was the commercialization of LYCRA® fiber in 1962 that would truly revolutionize swimwear design.
LYCRA® has done what no other fiber has been able to do.
- It defined the indefinable qualities of fashion with form and allowed garments to be made differently, to show and shape the body in new ways.
- It replaced thick and heavy swimsuits with light, quick-drying possibilities.
- Jantzen swimwear’s first design to use LYCRA® fiber —the “No-suit,” debuted its two-way stretch style with the iconic slogan, “Just Wear a Smile and Jantzen, in 1962.” It was a revolutionary breakthrough in not just in swim but for the entire fashion industry, paving the way for modern products we enjoy today.
- Throughout the decades, LYCRA® brand has evolved as well, with new innovations that offer resistance to elements, shapelier fit and more comfort.
There could be no more fitting setting for such a glamorous exhibit than the iconic Raleigh Hotel made famous by beach beauty Esther Williams, who often wore Jantzen swimsuits in her performances and photo shoots.
“The Raleigh offers a perfect backdrop for our swimwear retrospective as well as the new collections featuring XTRA LIFE LYCRA® fiber,” said Elana Page, Marketing Manager, Swim at INVISTA. “This durable material stands up to environmental stressors that cause fit loss and fabric breakdown.”
“We’re delighted to partner with Jantzen on The History of Swim,” said Diana Vargas, NA Marketing Director, Apparel at INVISTA. “It’s remarkable to see the looks and fabrics used just 50 years ago, and how the introduction of LYCRA® fiber transformed swimwear to what it is today.”
The past of swimwear has shaped the future of swimwear as was seen on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim held from July 18th through July 22nd, 2013.