5 Bikinis to Transcend Pop Culture

Ah, 1946. What a year. The period we’ll all famously recall for the introduction of household Tupperware, Winston Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech and the first ever Cannes Film Festival, right?

Wrong. Twas the year of the bikini.

71 years ago this week, a French engineer named Louis Réard created the risqué two-piece, claiming it to be “smaller than the world’s smallest swimsuit”. So, on #NationalBikiniDay, here are five movie bikinis that transcended pop culture.

bikini, national bikini day
Hands to yourself, Mr. Connery

1. The name’s Ursula…

Let us begin 16 years after the first bikini was released. You know the scene that every woman plus Daniel Craig tries to recreate when hitting the beach in Tenerife? Where they emerge out of the water, whipping their hair around? Enter Ursula Andress in the very first ever 007 film, Dr. No.

Walking out of the Caribbean Sea in a white, ripply, belted bikini, with a knife holster and a giant shell in either hand. Not only did she set the trend for beach goers everywhere (minus the knife holster and slightly creepy skull-sized shells), this bikini scene put Ursula well on her way to being regarded as the most iconic Bond girl ever.

Washing Instructors

Separate swimsuit from knife holster and shells. Soak in cold water with one capful of mild detergent or white vinegar. (Alternatively, Laundrappable)

National bikini day, bikini
Welch looking golden ?

2. The ‘original’ bikini, you might say

5 years on from Ms Andress, 1967’s One Million Dollars B.C. featured Racquel Welch (who technically beat Réard to it by 1,000,046 years) rocking a tea-stained two-piece of torn cloth, looking golden and rugged in the sun with everything about her dishevelled – besides her hair, obviously.

Wash instructions

Maintain with body spray and perfumes. Do not wash – the stained the better. Alternatively, garnish with coffee instead of tea if you fancy a darker shade of stain.

bikini, national bikini day
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

3. Ladies and gentleman… Princess Leia.

Both Carrie Fisher, and the world’s most famous metal two-piece; finished off with a red silk loincloth, became a sex symbol and eventually elevated to pop culture icon status. To this day, it’s regularly imitated at Star Wars celebrations, conventions and general cosplay events. (Might often appear in the odd middle-aged man’s fantasy, too).

But talk about iconic, Princess Leia’s bikini has its own Wikipedia page and has been recreated in loads of popular TV shows, no cameo more famous than its appearance in Friends’ ‘The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy’.

Wash Instructions

I mean, it’s metal, that’s the best part about it! No need to hear it clanging in your washing machine, your Dettol wipes should do the trick.

national bikini day, bikini
Lara Croft ?

4. Tomb Raider

In her days of raiding tombs in an overly-posh British accent, Angelina Jolie changed the ideology that a heroine should evoke images of a female Rambo. Her jet-skiing scene in a simple black bikini went above and beyond just looking pretty, it was made for action. Propelling the interest in sportier 21st-century bikinis for every active woman.

Wash Instructions

Soak and wash by hand and be wary of detergents that will cause the dye to run. (Laundrappable)

mankini, borat
Cultural Learnings and all that

5. A very nice ??

Ok, ok – we may have cheated with this final inclusion as it’s not technically a ‘bikini’. But what’s a bikini list without the incredibly offensive Borat, eh? This beach scene from 2006 was the reason the sale of green mankinis, now known worldwide as the ‘Borat mankini’, absolutely soared in the late naughties.

Albeit, more-so used for dress-up gags rather than casual beach attire.

Wash Instructions

Just throw it away.