Micheline Bernardini

Micheline Bernardini (born 1 December 1927) is a French former nude dancer at the Casino de Paris who agreed to model, on 5 July 1946, Louis Réard's two-piece swimsuit, which he called the bikini, named four days after the first test of an American nuclear weapon at the Bikini Atoll.[1]

Micheline Bernardini
Modeling the first bikini on 5 July 1946 at the Piscine Molitor in Paris.
Born (1927-12-01) 1 December 1927 (age 93)

Réard's bikiniEdit

Designer Louis Réard could not find a runway model willing to showcase his revealing design for a two-piece swimsuit. Risqué for its time, it exposed the wearer's navel and much of her buttocks. He hired Bernardini, an 18-year-old nude dancer from the Casino de Paris, as his model.[2][3] 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.[4]

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.[5] The bikini was a hit, especially among men, and Bernardini received over 50,000 fan letters.[6]

Later lifeEdit

Bernardini later moved to Australia. She appeared from 1948 to 1958 in a number of revues at the Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne.[7][8] Footage of her 1946 modeling appearance was featured in an episode of the reality television series Love Lust titled The Bikini, in 2011.[9]

Bernardini posed at age 58 in a bikini for photographer Peter Turnley, in 1986.[10]


  1. ^ "Operation Crossroads: Fact Sheet". Department of the Navy—Naval History and Heritage Command. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  2. ^ Rosebush, Judson. "Michele Bernadini: The First Bikini". Bikini Science. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
  3. ^ "The History of the Bikini". TeenyB. 10 August 2020. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Bikini introduced - Jul 05, 1946 - HISTORY.com". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  5. ^ Mitchell, Claudia A.; Reid-Walsh, Jacqueline (2008). Girl Culture an Encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 82. ISBN 0-313-08444-0.
  6. ^ "Bikini Introduced". A&E Television Networks. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
  7. ^ McLeod, Alan Lindsey. R. G. Howarth, Australian Man of Letters, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2005, ISBN 1-932705-53-8. p.81
  8. ^ Tivoli Theatres Performing Arts Programs and Ephemera
  9. ^ The Bikini at IMDb
  10. ^ Photo by Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images.[1]