Bikini history revealed

Sixty years of bikini history will go on show next week as part of the Noosa Festival of Surfing.
Sixty years of bikini history will go on show next week as part of the Noosa Festival of Surfing.

It's always been teeny weenie, but the humble bikini is still causing a splash.

Or maybe that should be a tidal wave, because more than 60 years after it first hit the swimwear scene, that itsy, bitsy scrap of material has been at the pinnacle of beach culture.

Next week, some of that history will be on show at the Global Surf Industries Noosa Festival of Surfing.

To get bidders in the mood for the surf memorabilia auction, which organisers promise will feature some of the highest quality items ever seen in Australia, a history of the bikini parade will be shown, giving bidders a visual taste of some of the decade’s the auction memorabilia has come from.

From ’50s cotton suits made for watching from the shore to ’60s psychedelic numbers, ’70s crochet and 80’s fluoro bling, award winning swimwear designer Karen Neilsen has collected them all.

The former swimwear model and wife to Paul Neilsen, of Brother’s Neilsen fame, is looking through her extensive collection, finalising the swimwear to be showcased and she promises no one will be disappointed with their tour through the bikini’s evolution.

“I think people will definitely have a giggle at them,” she said.

“Some of the people who are looking at the surf memorabilia will remember these eras quite well and will probably be pointing out to their children what people were wearing when they were their age or just thinking ‘I remember wearing those’.

“Well have the music representing the eras, to help get people in the mood, so it should be a lot of fun.”

While Karen was hard pressed to pick a favourite era, finally naming the 1970s for its laid-back style, picking a shocker was a little easier.

“The ’80s, they were just so....loud and fluoro. And so high cut in the legs. Even now when we get models to try them on, they are just not that flattering, because of the hip and leg line. It’s a bit tragic actually.”

With the 80's long gone, Sunshine Coast girls have had more recent bikini fashion on display during the local heats of the Ralph Astralian Swimwear Model of the Year competition. For photos of the action, see more here.

Your complete guide to the Noosa Festival of Surfing, including links to stories and photo galleries.

More bikini tales:

> Baring their dam views: Traveston receives support form the scantily clad
> Still sexy at 66: Buderim Ginger shows it's playful side
> Nicole's double act: local model takes two crowns
> Locals heat up Indy
> Bikini record break: 1010 girls in Bondi photoshoot
> Top shots for Aussie: local photographer wins international awards

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