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Maila Nurmi was the original Queen of the Modern Gothic. Vampira, her iconic macabre creation, influenced generations of filmmakers, musicians, artists and lifestylers. Sadly, she shuffled off her mortal coil on January 10th, 2008. She was aged 86.

 

A Finnish-born model and actress, Maila had posed for Man Ray, Vargas and Bernard of Hollywood before being discovered at a masquerade ball by a TV producer. Her pale-skin and tight black dress complete with black wig and long, haemorrhage-red fingernails were quite unique in 1953. A year later, she became the eponymous star of The Vampira Show bringing a distinctive mix of sex, horror and death.

 

As the world’s first TV horror host, Vampira’s sardonic wit and eye-popping hourglass-figure made her the ghoulish fantasy of guys and ghouls across the globe, despite appearing on a show that was only broadcast in LA. Every week the voluptuous vamp would unleash blood-curdling screams and utter puns in an exotic and alluring Marlene Dietrich-like drawl – ‘I am…Vampira. I hope you all had the good fortune to have had a terrible week.’

 

After her show was cancelled, Maila accepted a tiny fee to appear as the reanimated corpse bride in Plan 9 From Outer Space, a role in the unfairly dubbed ‘Worst Film of all Time’, but it was one that would ensure Vampira’s immortality in popular culture.

 

As a star in the Golden Age of Tinsletown, Maila gigged with Liberace, dated Orson Welles, was friends with Marlon Brando and formed a tremendous kinship with James Dean, whose spirit, she claimed, haunted her for six months after his death.

 

Even as lady in her eighties, she was an incredible bright spark, a feisty old dame and a terrific raconteur, recalling stories from the old days with childlike glee. Like her icons-in-crime Bela Lugosi and Ed Wood, Maila Nurmi died nearly penniless, but she left behind a legacy that will endure forever.

     

Here's the article I wrote for Bizarre Magazine...

 

The Lady is a Vamp

 

I’m sat in Pioneer Chicken, a fast-food joint off Sunset Boulevard, deep in discussion with Vampira, the world’s first TV horror host. Maila Nurmi, the Finnish-born performer beneath the famous black wig and nails was a phenomenon in the nineteen-fifties. Her iconic gothic style, sardonic wit and eye-popping hourglass-figure made her the ghoulish fantasy of guys and ghouls across the globe, despite appearing on a show that was only broadcast to the Los Angeles area. Every week the voluptuous vamp would emerge from dry-ice studio fog to the sound of creepy organ music. She would unleash a blood-curdling scream and utter puns in an exotic, sexual, Marlene Dietrich-like drawl - “I am…Vampira. I hope you all had the good fortune to have had a terrible week."

 

But this is not simply an interview with a vampire. Conversing with Naila Nurmi means taking a voyeuristic journey through the lives of mythological cult icons of fifties Hollywood. It seems that Vampira’s finger was firmly on the jugular pulse of the tinsletown scene during the beat generation. Captivating tales with James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Elvis Presley pour from her octogenarian lips, memories recalled with intensity and insight.

 

Since Maila claims psychic capabilities, one can also add a touch of the paranormal to this Hollyweird concoction. She speaks of clairaudience, strange premonitions and visions. Most sensationally, it was such psychic sensitivity that found her haunted by the spirit of James Dean, whose death profoundly affected her.

 

She’s certainly one tough cookie though, that’s for sure - strongly opinionated and gutsy. Before international fame, back when she was modeling for the likes of Bernard of Hollywood, Vargas and a young Man Ray, she still wasn’t taking any crap from studio big shots. Even movie mogul Howard Hawks - who discovered Maila performing a skeleton striptease in a New York show - suffered the wrath of Vampira’s razor-witted tongue, despite having just turned Lauren Bacall into a household name.

 

“I thought he was stupid, so I tore up my contract,” she giggles, tucking into her rice. “I told him to kindly find a place for it in one of his numerous waste baskets.”

 

Yet in 1956, her outspoken manner caused her blacklisting from the system. Broke, she accepted a measly $200 to play the reanimated corpse-bride of Bela Lugosi in the trash sci-fi epic Plan 9 From Outer Space. Irony, for this movie cemented her position in popular culture and led to Tim Burton’s marvelous biopic of director Ed Wood, one that cast model Lisa Marie as Maila.

 

At eighty-three, she’s still hip and sharp like Vampira’s fingernails.

 

So how did your famous horror host role come about?

 

I decided I wanted to become an evangelist. I had to sponsor myself and I thought I needed $20,000. How could I do it? Well, television was just warping people’s minds, so I thought could do that - and they paid big. I thought I’d satirise soap operas, I’d take improbable people and make them do all these bourgeois things. Since Charles Addams had already done it in comic form, I wanted it to bring it to television. So that is why I made the dress, went to a masquerade ball and won first prize. They discovered me and that was the end of it. But Vampira wasn’t really acting. It was television, just a lot of hogwash.

 

What went wrong with the revival of Vampira in the early eighties and the subsequent launch of the Elvira character?

 

Well I was dealing with KTTV for three months and then they suddenly didn’t want me to come to the studio anymore. They eventually called me in to sign a contract and she was there (Cassandra Peterson). They had hired her without asking me.

 

So it was going to be the Vampira name?

 

It’s Vampira all together. She did the whole thing with the Rocky Horror people. They stole it. They stole $100 million dollars. She was in 51 markets at one time with 350 kinds of merchandise; milked my cupboard bare.

 

Did you successfully sue?

 

I sued for eight years but not successfully. Finally I ran out of money. To continue would have cost $60,000. I wrote to the judge and said, “I’m sorry, I have no money. I have to close the case.” So he charged them to pay all the expenses. That money was meant for animal welfare and she spent it on cocaine and red limousines. Boy has the devil got that bitch—it’s the devil in her blood. That slut was a big player in porno movies - she was trying to hide her background. They deemed it unwise to reveal that fact so they told her to make up stuff if she was asked. But she said, “Why make it up when it is written here?” She was pretending to be me. How dare she? She’s such a low-life, such a no talent. She’s so stupid and she has no sense of timing. No sense of humor; such a common slut that speaks Americanese. Nasal. Phlegmatic. You know, the limousines and the lovers and the houses—they can take all that. Initially they wanted me. I wouldn’t do it because I didn’t want Vampira to be anything but perfect. I certainly didn’t want it to be a streetwalker-slut like that. Angelina Jolie would be a good Vampira.

 

Didn’t Vampira lead you to James Dean?

 

With the character I had been handed the keys to the city. I wanted to see who’s who and so I attended a movie premiere. But all I could find was vapid identities, people of whom I had no interest, except for one fellow who was with Terry Moore. I thought “him, that’s the one with the tuxedo and the collar, the farm boy hair that wouldn’t stay down.” Twelve hours after, I was sitting in Googies, and Jimmy rode up on his motorcycle, the windows rattled and the rest was history. We were never apart again. We were best friends instantly, like psychic Siamese twins.

 

Was he openly gay to his friends?

 

No. As he said, “do I look like someone who would go through life with one hand tied behind my back?” That was a courageous statement in those days. Jimmy was primarily heterosexual but he used men sexually to get ahead, and if he saw someone he liked, he liked them. More often it was women, but maybe that was because he had never got the really pretty girls before. He had always got the ugly leftovers that nobody else wanted.

 

How much time did you spend with him?

 

Seventeen-hundred hours, every moment to treasure. But he was just a little boy in search of his mother. Everyone must have seen it, maybe not known what it was, not how to read it, but they saw the feeling. I was a little more psychic so I knew what it was. He had the impression she had abandoned him. But after, I found out she died of cancer and hadn’t abandoned him at all, but she did go away and leave him all alone in the world. He was an only child and it was impossible for him to relate to his father. The father had probably married his mother for her boobs or something and had nothing in common with her. She raised a boy whom she named after a poet, James Byron. And the father didn’t know poetry from a hole in the ground. He was a nice, practical, and sensible dentist.

 

Do you remember when you heard that James Dean had died?

 

Yeah I was at home with Tony Perkins (Psycho). Jack Simmons (actor in Rebel Without A Cause and friend of Dean) had just left to visit some lesbian whores that lived a block away. We knew we had to tell Jack before someone else did, but then we had to go tell Ursula (Andress), Jimmy’s ladylove. We drove up and I waited in the car because I didn’t really know her very well. It was in a dead end street, and now dark. Then suddenly, Marlon (Brando) appeared at the car - he had been hiding in the bushes. Ursula had called him in hysterics screaming, “They are trying to kill me. They’re threatening me. They think he killed himself because of me. I’m frightened! You have to come. I’m alone.” She would have used any device to get to Marlon at that time, even though she was trying to break up John Derek’s marriage. She wanted Marlon above all; she even bought the same car that he had. So he went, but looked in the windows first to be sure that she wasn’t putting him on and that she was really upset. Then Jack found him in the bushes. “Maila’s over there, in the hearse,” he said.(laughs) So he came over to offer condolences.

 

I heard that the spirit of James Dean visited you.

 

He visited a lot of people. He was very active. Now a lot of people made it up too I’m sure, but even people who weren’t psychic had experiences. He was that strong. Jimmy was following me around and was with me a lot of the time for the first six months. There would be an ashtray, I’d look and say “don’t anybody touch the ashtray, it’s gonna go up. That’s Jimmy’s sign that he’s here.” And it would go up!

 

Did you have psychic tendencies early on?

 

Yeah, I was very psychic in those days. My first husband Dean Eisner (writer of Dirty Harry and Play Misty For Me) and I lived in Laurel Canyon. He came home from work one day and said a story editor was writing a TV series about us. TV was very new and it was very easy to get anything you wanted done. He said they called it “Laurel Canyon”, but apparently sold it under the working title Bewitched. That was written about Dean Eisner and I. You see my mother was a witch. She wasn’t practicing, but she couldn’t help but be a witch. It was natural. It exuded from her, the very essence of her. And I was very psychic too.

 

Didn’t you share some strange, paranormal experiences with Marlon Brando?

 

We were sitting around and chatting in the dining room and Einstein had died just three weeks before. Marlon always had a wonderful portrait of Einstein on his headboard and sometimes he would just shove it in your face. Suddenly Marlon says, “There’s someone here. It’s Einstein. He has a message for us.” I was included in the message. “You young ones have to hurry up,” That’s what Einstein told Marlon, who wasn’t inventing it - he believed it. He may have seen it or heard it. The point is that Marlon really wanted to believe that he was a humanitarian, and Einstein was urging him to hurry up with his duties. Marlon was a very humane human being, though he didn’t know how to be humane with his own children. Some of his best friends despised him and said he was a brute and a beast and nothing in-between. He’s either the gentlest, noble of human beings or the coarsest and grossest. How do you like them apples?

 

What was your first introduction to any of the Ed Wood clan?

 

I was a young girl window-shopping on Hollywood Boulevard. I was bending low to see the detail of some shoes and someone whizzed around the corner on roller skates, almost bumped my fanny and crashed into me. “Pardon me,” said he, and “Pardon me,” said I. He was wearing an ascot and a beret. It was Bela Lugosi on roller skates. He was on his way to a cigar store.

 

Had you heard of Ed Wood before you met him?

 

Yes, because there had been an article in a newspaper, saying that he wanted to make a movie with Vampira. The nerve of him! This was before I was blacklisted. After, I had no money and I couldn’t get a job. A guy came and visited me and offered $200 to make this Ed Wood movie called Grave Robbers From Outer Space (later changed to Plan 9). I thought it was a good title at least. Oh boy! So I did it, and he came into my life right after then.

 

Did you find Ed Wood to be an intelligent guy?

 

No. But anyone who has become a phenomenon has a karmic current carrying them there. Nobody who is normal has such drive. That’s got to be driven by something larger than life. There was something there that I didn’t understand or respect because I was an intellectual snob, but it was there alright.

 

How did Ed Wood react when he heard you didn’t want to speak his words?

 

Paul Marco told him, so I don’t know. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but my God, I could not say those words. I wish I had them today because I threw them away. Do you know what jewels those lines must have been? I tried to say them, but I curdled my own blood. (laughs) They were awful!

 

Did you go to the premiere of Plan 9 From Outer Space?

 

Yeah. The theatre was full of people. I was backstage and I could see the images behind the screen. People were in the wings, dictating to me when to walk out, so that I was there on screen at the same time as I walked across stage. The audience booed, whistled and threw popcorn – they loved it! But I never actually got to see the film as I had to leave, then the film was banned in Los Angeles for 26 years. It never played here and Ed Wood never knew why. They hated him I guess or maybe it was because of me. But Criswell told me that the film played in a small theatre in New York for over a year and a half, with just standing room only all the time. When it was on the road in Indianapolis, even though it was pouring with rain, people queued around the block with newspapers over their heads. It was very popular. People knew it was Lugosi’s last film.

 

What kind of state of mind do you think Ed Wood have when he later made porn films?

 

He loved the porn. He was in his element. He would have been very unhappy if he had known he couldn’t have done porn again. He just kept writing them so fast. He’d write a whole pornographic book in just two days.

 

Did Tim Burton talk to you before he filmed the movie Ed Wood?

 

Yes. He introduced me to his stuffed bat. The film was accurate in some way but he wasn’t really trying to be accurate. It was a docu-drama. He was taking liberties, which he was entitled to do, but he got some of the essences correct—the ones that he should have retained. And then he embroidered a little. Johnny Depp is such a good actor and was believable as Ed Wood. Although it wasn’t exactly the same persona, his essence was there. The enthusiasm was so believable - such gung-ho enthusiasm.

 

Finally, is it right you had an encounter with Elvis before he became famous?

 

I went to Las Vegas with Liberace and met a19 year-old Elvis. I was there eating breakfast in the hotel and across the huge dining room in backlight - because the sun was shining through the windows - I could see three older men, smoking cigars, looking plump and eating. A tall, young, graceful man came in, and sat with them. Then on the intercom it said that somebody was wanted on the telephone. This young guy got up, and walked like Robert Mitchum. All I saw was his silhouette, that was it. So I paid my bill and walked past the men and said, “well congratulations, he’s going to be the biggest movie star in the world. I see he has tremendous magnetism.” “Ah,” they said, “thank you.” (laughs). And I hadn’t yet seen Elvis’ face. But the next night when he opened, I went with Liberace and his whole family. A side curtain parted and this kid comes out alone. I had never seen someone boldly standing on a stage – supposedly a heterosexual male – wearing turquoise eye shadow and grinding his hips like that. I thought, “oh-my-god. What am I seeing? This music is great.” The orchestra, one by one put down their instruments. They crossed their arms and refused to play. The audience started booing, and they booed him off the stage. Then a voice said to me – and I wasn’t on any drugs – “go around the side of the hotel and in the back, there’s a swimming pool and you’ll find someone in a canary yellow jacket.” Now I hadn’t seen a jacket like that anywhere. But I went around and in the dark moonless night, far away I could see the double doors of the casino, golden with light. They opened and a figure came into the doorway. It was Elvis, wearing a canary yellow jacket. He looked confusedly into the darkness, so I said, “I’m over here.” We walked towards each other, sat down and talked. I told him that I was a performer and that what happened was absolutely awful. He said, “every night before I go on, I talk to God and he always answers me. But tonight he didn’t answer. When them curtains opened and I saw all those white heads and them glasses, I knew why.“ I told him I admired his courage and that they only did that because they’re sheep and they do as they think they are supposed to do. One person booed and so then they all did. They’ve never, ever seen anything like you and it frightened them. But, Life Magazine are going to discover you (because that’s what they did in those days) and they will kiss your shoes.” He said, “it’s coming out Thursday” and it did. I was thirty-three and he said to me, “I know you’re getting old and all, but if you’d like to come back after the show, I’d be proud to take you back to my bungalow.” (laughs) His hallowed words! And so Elvis went back to do a second show.

 

Many thanks to Joe Moe and Forry for their assistance with this interview.

 

(Photos and Words Copyright - Mark Berry)

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Farrah Leni Fawcett is known as the world's Sexiest Star of all time... she will forever be one of Hollywood's greatest Icons. She was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the younger of two daughters.[3] Her mother, Pauline Alice January 30, 1914 – March 4, 2005), was a homemaker, and her father, James William Fawcett (October 14, 1917 – August 23, 2010), was an oil field contractor. Her sister was Diane Fawcett Walls (October 27, 1938 – October 16, 2001), a graphic artist. She was of Irish, French, English, and Choctaw Native American ancestry. Fawcett once said the name Ferrah was made up by her mother because it went well with their last name.

 

A Roman Catholic, Fawcett's early education was at the parish school of the church her family attended, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Corpus Christi. She graduated from W. B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, where she was voted Most Beautiful by her classmates her Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years of High School. For three years, 1965–68, Fawcett attended the University of Texas at Austin, living one semester in Jester Center, and she became a sister of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. During her Freshman year, she was named one of the Ten Most Beautiful Coeds on Campus, the first time a Freshman had been chosen. Their photos were sent to various agencies in Hollywood. David Mirsch, a Hollywood agent called her and urged her to come to Los Angeles. She turned him down but he called her for the next two years. Finally, in 1968, the summer following her junior year, with her parents' permission to try her luck in Hollywood, Farrah moved to Hollywood. She did not return.

 

Upon arriving in Hollywood in 1968 she was signed to a $350 a week contract with Screen Gems. She began to appear in commercials for UltraBrite toothpaste, Noxema, Max Factor, Wella Balsam shampoo and conditioner, Mercury Cougar automobiles and Beauty Rest matresses. Fawcett's earliest acting appearances were guest spots on The Flying Nun and I Dream of Jeannie. She made numerous other TV appearances including Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, [Mayberry RFD]] and The Partridge Family. She appeared in four episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man with husband Lee Majors, The Dating Game, S.W.A.T and a recurring role on Harry O alongside David Janssen. She also appeared in the Made for TV movies, The Feminist and the Fuzz, The Great American Beauty Contest, The Girl Who Came Giftwrapped, and Murder of Flight 502.

 

She had a sizable part in the 1969 French romantic-drama, Love Is a Funny Thing. She played opposite Raquel Welch and Mae West in the film version of, Myra Breckinridge (1970). The film earned negative reviews and was a box office flop. However, much has been written and said about the scene where Farrah and Raquel share a bed, and a near sexual experience. Fawcett co-starred with Michael York and Richard Jordan in the well-received science-fiction film, Logan's Run in 1976.

 

In 1976, Pro Arts Inc., pitched the idea of a poster of Fawcett to her agent, and a photo shoot was arranged with photographer Bruce McBroom, who was hired by the poster company. According to friend Nels Van Patten, Fawcett styled her own hair and did her make-up without the aid of a mirror. Her blonde highlights were further heightened by a squeeze of lemon juice. From 40 rolls of film, Fawcett herself selected her six favorite pictures, eventually narrowing her choice to the one that made her famous. The resulting poster, of Fawcett in a one-piece red bathing suit, was a best-seller; sales estimates ranged from over 5 million[12] to 8 million to as high as 12 million copies.

 

On March 21, 1976, the first appearance of Fawcett playing the character Jill Munroe in Charlie's Angels was aired as a movie of the week. Fawcett and her husband were frequent tennis partners of producer Aaron Spelling, and he and his producing partner thought of casting Fawcett as the golden girl Jill because of his friendship with the couple. The movie starred Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Fawcett (then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors) as private investigators for Townsend Associates, a detective agency run by a reclusive multi-millionaire whom the women had never met. Voiced by John Forsythe, the Charles Townsend character presented cases and dispensed advice via a speakerphone to his core team of three female employees, whom he referred to as Angels. They were aided in the office and occasionally in the field by two male associates, played by character actors David Doyle and David Ogden Stiers. The program quickly earned a huge following, leading the network to air it a second time and approve production for a series, with the pilot's principal cast except David Ogden Stiers.

Fawcett's record-breaking poster that sold 12 million copies.

 

The Charlie's Angels series formally debuted on September 22, 1976. Fawcett emerged as a fan favorite in the show, and the actress won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Performer in a New TV Program. In a 1977 interview with TV Guide, Fawcett said: When the show was number three, I thought it was our acting. When we got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.

 

Fawcett's appearance in the television show boosted sales of her poster, and she earned far more in royalties from poster sales than from her salary for appearing in Charlie's Angels. Her hairstyle went on to become an international trend, with women sporting a Farrah-do a Farrah-flip, or simply Farrah hair Iterations of her hair style predominated American women's hair styles well into the 1980s.

 

Fawcett left Charlie's Angels after only one season and Cheryl Ladd replaced her on the show, portraying Jill Munroe's younger sister Kris Munroe. Numerous explanations for Fawcett's precipitous withdrawal from the show were offered over the years. The strain on her marriage due to her long absences most days due to filming, as her then-husband Lee Majors was star of an established television show himself, was frequently cited, but Fawcett's ambitions to broaden her acting abilities with opportunities in films have also been given. Fawcett never officially signed her series contract with Spelling due to protracted negotiations over royalties from her image's use in peripheral products, which led to an even more protracted lawsuit filed by Spelling and his company when she quit the show.

 

The show was a major success throughout the world, maintaining its appeal in syndication, spawning a cottage industry of peripheral products, particularly in the show's first three seasons, including several series of bubble gum cards, two sets of fashion dolls, numerous posters, puzzles, and school supplies, novelizations of episodes, toy vans, and a board game, all featuring Fawcett's likeness. The Angels also appeared on the covers of magazines around the world, from countless fan magazines to TV Guide (four times) to Time Magazine.

 

The series ultimately ran for five seasons. As part of a settlement to a lawsuit over her early departure, Fawcett returned for six guest appearances over seasons three and four of the series.

 

In 2004, the television movie Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie's Angels dramatized the events from the show with supermodel and actress Tricia Helfer portraying Fawcett and Ben Browder portraying Lee Majors, Fawcett's then-husband.

 

In 1983, Fawcett won critical acclaim for her role in the Off-Broadway stage production of the controversial play Extremities, written by William Mastrosimone. Replacing Susan Sarandon, she was a would-be rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker. She described the role as the most grueling, the most intense, the most physically demanding and emotionally exhausting of her career. During one performance, a stalker in the audience disrupted the show by asking Fawcett if she had received the photos and letters he had mailed her. Police removed the man and were able only to issue a summons for disorderly conduct.

 

The following year, her role as a battered wife in the fact-based television movie The Burning Bed (1984) earned her the first of her four Emmy Award nominations. The project is noted as being the first television movie to provide a nationwide 800 number that offered help for others in the situation, in this case victims of domestic abuse. It was the highest-rated television movie of the season.

 

In 1986, Fawcett appeared in the movie version of Extremities, which was also well received by critics, and for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.

 

She appeared in Jon Avnet's Between Two Women with Colleen Dewhurst, and took several more dramatic roles as infamous or renowned women. She was nominated for Golden Globe awards for roles as Beate Klarsfeld in Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story and troubled Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton in Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story, and won a CableACE Award for her 1989 portrayal of groundbreaking LIFE magazine photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White in Double Exposure: The Story of Margaret Bourke-White. Her 1989 portrayal of convicted murderer Diane Downs in the miniseries Small Sacrifices earned her a second Emmy nomination[20] and her sixth Golden Globe Award nomination. The miniseries won a Peabody Award for excellence in television, with Fawcett's performance singled out by the organization, which stated Ms. Fawcett brings a sense of realism rarely seen in television miniseries (to) a drama of unusual power Art meets life.

 

Fawcett, who had steadfastly resisted appearing nude in magazines throughout the 1970s and 1980s (although she appeared topless in the 1980 film Saturn 3), caused a major stir by posing semi-nude in the December 1995 issue of Playboy.[citation needed] At the age of 50, she returned to Playboy with a pictorial for the July 1997 issue, which also became a top seller. The issue and its accompanying video featured Fawcett painting on canvas using her body, which had been an ambition of hers for years.

 

That same year, Fawcett was chosen by Robert Duvall to play his wife in an independent feature film he was producing, The Apostle. Fawcett received an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Actress for the film, which was highly critically acclaimed.

 

In 2000, she worked with director Robert Altman and an all-star cast in the feature film Dr. T the Women, playing the wife of Richard Gere (her character has a mental breakdown, leading to her first fully nude appearance). Also that year, Fawcett's collaboration with sculptor Keith Edmier was exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, later traveling to The Andy Warhol Museum. The sculpture was also presented in a series of photographs and a book by Rizzoli.

 

In November 2003, Fawcett prepared for her return to Broadway in a production of Bobbi Boland, the tragicomic tale of a former Miss Florida. However, the show never officially opened, closing before preview performances. Fawcett was described as vibrating with frustration at the producer's extraordinary decision to cancel the production. Only days earlier the same producer closed an Off-Broadway show she had been backing.

 

Fawcett continued to work in television, with well-regarded appearances in made-for-television movies and on popular television series including Ally McBeal and four episodes each of Spin City and The Guardian, her work on the latter show earning her a third Emmy nomination in 2004.

 

Fawcett was married to Lee Majors, star of television's The Six Million Dollar Man, from 1973 to 1982, although the couple separated in 1979. During her marriage, she was known and credited in her roles as Farrah Fawcett-Majors.

 

From 1979 until 1997 Fawcett was involved romantically with actor Ryan O'Neal. The relationship produced a son, Redmond James Fawcett O'Neal, born January 30, 1985 in Los Angeles.[26] In April 2009, on probation for driving under the influence, Redmond was arrested for possession of narcotics while Fawcett was in the hospital.[citation needed] On June 22, 2009, The Los Angeles Times and Reuters reported that Ryan O'Neal had said that Fawcett had agreed to marry him as soon as she felt strong enough.

 

From 1997 to 1998, Fawcett had a relationship with Canadian filmmaker James Orr, writer and producer of the Disney feature film in which she co-starred with Chevy Chase and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Man of the House. The relationship ended when Orr was charged with and later convicted of beating Fawcett during a 1998 fight between the two.

 

On June 5, 1997, Fawcett received negative commentary after giving a rambling interview and appearing distracted on Late Show with David Letterman. Months later, she told the host of The Howard Stern Show her behavior was just her way of joking around with the television host, partly in the guise of promoting her Playboy pictoral and video, explaining what appeared to be random looks across the theater was just her looking and reacting to fans in the audience. Though the Letterman appearance spawned speculation and several jokes at her expense, she returned to the show a week later, with success, and several years later, after Joaquin Phoenix's mumbling act on a February 2009 appearance on The Late Show, Letterman wrapped up the interview by saying, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight and recalled Fawcett's earlier appearance by noting we owe an apology to Farrah Fawcett.

 

Fawcett's elder sister, Diane Fawcett Walls, died from lung cancer just before her 63rd birthday, on October 16, 2001.[33] The fifth episode of her 2005 Chasing Farrah series followed the actress home to Texas to visit with her father, James, and mother, Pauline. Pauline Fawcett died soon after, on March 4, 2005, at the age of 91.

 

Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, and began treatment, including chemotherapy and surgery. Four months later, on her 60th birthday, the Associated Press wire service reported that Fawcett was, at that point, cancer free.

 

Less than four months later, in May 2007, Fawcett brought a small digital video camera to document a doctor's office visit. There, she was told a malignant polyp was found where she had been treated for the initial cancer. Doctors contemplated whether to implant a radiation seeder (which differs from conventional radiation and is used to treat other types of cancer). Fawcett's U.S. doctors told her that she would require a colostomy. Instead, Fawcett traveled to Germany for treatments described variously in the press as holistic aggressive and alternative. There, Dr. Ursula Jacob prescribed a treatment including surgery to remove the anal tumor, and a course of perfusion and embolization for her liver cancer by Doctors Claus Kiehling and Thomas Vogl in Germany, and chemotherapy back in Fawcett's home town of Los Angeles. Although initially the tumors were regressing, their reappearance a few months later necessitated a new course, this time including laser ablation therapy and chemoembolization. Aided by friend Alana Stewart, Fawcett documented her battle with the disease.

 

In early April 2009, Fawcett, back in the United States, was hospitalized, with media reports declaring her unconscious and in critical condition, although subsequent reports indicated her condition was not so dire. On April 6, the Associated Press reported that her cancer had metastasized to her liver, a development Fawcett had learned of in May 2007 and which her subsequent treatments in Germany had targeted. The report denied that she was unconscious, and explained that the hospitalization was due not to her cancer but a painful abdominal hematoma that had been the result of a minor procedure. Her spokesperson emphasized she was not at death's door adding - She remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humor ... She's been in great shape her whole life and has an incredible resolve and an incredible resilience. Fawcett was released from the hospital on April 9, picked up by longtime companion O'Neal, and, according to her doctor, was walking and in great spirits and looking forward to celebrating Easter at home.

 

A month later, on May 7, Fawcett was reported as critically ill, with Ryan O'Neal quoted as saying she now spends her days at home, on an IV, often asleep. The Los Angeles Times reported Fawcett was in the last stages of her cancer and had the chance to see her son Redmond in April 2009, although shackled and under supervision, as he was then incarcerated. Her 91-year-old father, James Fawcett, flew out to Los Angeles to visit.

 

The cancer specialist that was treating Fawcett in L.A., Dr. Lawrence Piro, and Fawcett's friend and Angels co-star Kate Jackson – a breast cancer survivor – appeared together on The Today Show dispelling tabloid-fueled rumors, including suggestions Fawcett had ever been in a coma, had ever reached 86 pounds, and had ever given up her fight against the disease or lost the will to live. Jackson decried such fabrications, saying they really do hurt a human being and a person like Farrah. Piro recalled when it became necessary for Fawcett to undergo treatments that would cause her to lose her hair, acknowledging Farrah probably has the most famous hair in the world but also that it is not a trivial matter for any cancer patient, whose hair affects [one's] whole sense of who [they] are. Of the documentary, Jackson averred Fawcett didn't do this to show that 'she' is unique, she did it to show that we are all unique ... This was ... meant to be a gift to others to help and inspire them.

 

The two-hour documentary Farrah's Story, which was filmed by Fawcett and friend Alana Stewart, aired on NBC on May 15, 2009.[47] The documentary was watched by nearly nine million people at its premiere airing, and it was re-aired on the broadcast network's cable stations MSNBC, Bravo and Oxygen. Fawcett earned her fourth Emmy nomination posthumously on July 16, 2009, as producer of Farrah's Story.

 

Controversy surrounded the aired version of the documentary, with her initial producing partner, who had worked with her four years earlier on her reality series Chasing Farrah, alleging O'Neal's and Stewart's editing of the program was not in keeping with Fawcett's wishes to more thoroughly explore rare types of cancers such as her own and alternative methods of treatment. He was especially critical of scenes showing Fawcett's son visiting her for the last time, in shackles, while she was nearly unconscious in bed. Fawcett had generally kept her son out of the media, and his appearances were minimal in Chasing Farrah.

 

Fawcett died at approximately 9:28 am, PDT on June 25, 2009, in the intensive care unit of Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, with O'Neal and Stewart by her side. A private funeral was held in Los Angeles on June 30. Fawcett's son Redmond was permitted to leave his California detention center to attend his mother's funeral, where he gave the first reading.

 

The night of her death, ABC aired an hour-long special episode of 20/20 featuring clips from several of Barbara Walters' past interviews with Fawcett as well as new interviews with Ryan O'Neal, Jaclyn Smith, Alana Stewart, and Dr. Lawrence Piro. Walters followed up on the story on Friday's episode of 20/20. CNN's Larry King Live planned a show exclusively about Fawcett that evening until the death of Michael Jackson several hours later caused the program to shift to cover both stories. Cher, a longtime friend of Fawcett, and Suzanne de Passe, executive producer of Fawcett's Small Sacrifices mini-series, both paid tribute to Fawcett on the program. NBC aired a Dateline NBC special Farrah Fawcett: The Life and Death of an Angel; the following evening, June 26, preceded by a rebroadcast of Farrah's Story in prime time. That weekend and the following week, television tributes continued. MSNBC aired back-to-back episodes of its Headliners and Legends episodes featuring Fawcett and Jackson. TV Land aired a mini-marathon of Charlie's Angels and Chasing Farrah episodes. E! aired Michael and Farrah: Lost Icons and the The Biography Channel aired Bio Remembers: Farrah Fawcett. The documentary Farrah's Story re-aired on the Oxygen Network and MSNBC.

 

Larry King said of the Fawcett phenomenon,

TV had much more impact back in the '70s than it does today. Charlie's Angels got huge numbers every week – nothing really dominates the television landscape like that today. Maybe American Idol comes close, but now there are so many channels and so many more shows it's hard for anything to get the audience, or amount of attention, that Charlie's Angels got. Farrah was a major TV star when the medium was clearly dominant.

 

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner said Farrah was one of the iconic beauties of our time. Her girl-next-door charm combined with stunning looks made her a star on film, TV and the printed page.

 

Kate Jackson said,

She was a selfless person who loved her family and friends with all her heart, and what a big heart it was. Farrah showed immense courage and grace throughout her illness and was an inspiration to those around her... I will remember her kindness, her cutting dry wit and, of course, her beautiful smile...when you think of Farrah, remember her smiling because that is exactly how she wanted to be remembered: smiling.

 

She is buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

 

The red one-piece bathing suit worn by Farrah in her famous 1976 poster was donated to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (NMAH) on February 2, 2011.[65] Said to have been purchased at a Saks Fifth Avenue store, the red Lycra suit made by the leading Australian swimsuit company Speedo, was donated to the Smithsonian by her executors and was formally presented to NMAH in Washington D.C. by her longtime companion Ryan O'Neal.[66] The suit and the poster are expected to go on temporary display sometime in 2011–12. They will be made additions to the Smithsonian's popular culture department.

 

The famous poster of Farrah in a red swimsuit has been produced as a Barbie doll. The limited edition dolls, complete with a gold chain and the girl-next-door locks, have been snapped up by Barbie fans.

 

In 2011, Men's Health named her one of the 100 Hottest Women of All-Time ranking her at No. 31

I was tagged by no less than FOUR PEOPLE to do the 16 Things meme! I guess I'm kinda popular. It boggles the mind. I never know how to start these things, so we might as well start with the mask....

 

1. During spring 2004 I had recurring dreams (well, nightmares) about a donkey-headed man...not long afterwards I saw this mask in a costume shop and figured that if I bought it, it just might exorcise the dream from my head...it worked! And now I'm rather fond of donkeys, ironically.

 

2. I'm 23 years old and I've never been kissed, never been on a date, never been no nuttin'. Sometimes this really bugs me, especially since I'm a hopeless romantic. In any case, I have learned the fine art of solitude.

 

3. ...Speaking of being a hopeless romantic, I cry at sad movies. When I first saw "The Fellowship of the Ring" I bawled so hard people gave me dirty looks. :^| Insensitive peons. :^P

 

4. And speaking of MOVIES, I adore classic, old-timey, black-and-white movies. AY-DORS THEM. I live and breathe them and study camera angles and buy movie soundtrack albums and obsess over actors and actresses long since dead. I tape their pictures on my walls. I've tried to trace the reasons for my complete love of classic movies, and I think it was because I was homeschooled by a ever-so-slightly fundamentalist Christian family, and we didn't have cable when I was a kid (or friends, but that's another story). Instead of Rugrats cartoons and MTV, I was raised on old Laurel & Hardy and Three Stooges tapes. Not to mention Gene Kelly movies. Turner Classic Movies has practically saved my life....

 

5. My first crush was on Frank Sinatra, when I was 8 years old. I was sure that I was going to marry him, thanks to my poor sense of time (see #6 below). My mom had to break the news to me that he was, in fact, much older than I was, practically an old man even. I think she even dropped the word 'fat'. I cried all day. :^(

 

6. I have no sense of time. At all. When I say something will take me five minutes, it could mean two seconds, 45 minutes, or three hours. I also had no sense of time in terms of ages and years until I was about 10 years old...before that time I thought *every* movie was recently made (which is why I thought I had a chance with Frank Sinatra) and anything your grandparents had or experienced was still widely available. I have two typewriters, I say words like 'hot-cha' and 'palooka', and when somebody my age doesn't know who Groucho Marx is, I get violent.

 

7. My maternal grandfather is a Methodist reverend, and during my childhood church was MANDATORY. I now find sermons dull as can be, and am usually daydreaming through them. Though I still consider myself a Christian, I find much of the religion to be too dogmatic and filled with shaky unspoken rules. The superior attitude concerning the 'unsaved' also sticks in my craw. My spiritual leanings tend to be rather pantheistic...Nature is about as purely holy as things can get. Dogs can convey pure love much better than humans. (We have a mini poodle named Betsy. She's a sweetheart.) I also think 'Reality' is a very, very loose term...Reality is what you believe it to be. If you think you're the King of the Netherlands *just* hard enough, than you will be the King of the Netherlands (in your own mind, at the very least). We all know people who we think are crazy, right? How do you know what they believe is or isn't real? How do you know they're just not believing in a reality different than yours? THAT'S RIGHT, YOU DON'T. I think the secret to world peace is just to accept that we all see different realities, just as we all perceive the colors of the spectrum in a slightly different way. (Or we're all just crazy, it depends on how you want to define it).

 

8. I was not the popular kid. When you're homeschooled and don't have cable tv, to other kids you might as well be a deaf-mute from Mars. In one church we went to when I was about 11, my youth group had three rich yuppie girls who teased me mercilessly because I was unattractive, quiet, and slightly-lower-middle-class. I now hate all rich people.

 

9. I'm terribly, terribly creative. :^P I started drawing when I was about 4 and I haven't stopped. I've never taken an art class in my life, and I won't start now, as I don't wish to lose my uber-cool 'Outsider Artist' status. ;^P Everything I know about art I learned from stacks and stacks of books from the library. When I was 9 I played the violin, then dropped it to play the trombone...then dropped *that*, didn't play anything for years, and then when I was 19 I started taking violin lessons again. :^) When I was 11 years old I decided I wanted to be a writer. I have stories I've silently been working on for years and years...this April my science fiction epic, "Anomaly", will be ten years in the making. 0_0 That's kind of amazing. Somehow I want to be able to combine all this artistic spiffyness into something big...my dream job to is to be a filmmaker or a graphic novelist. (Read: Maker of comic books.) My brain won't stop thinking of ideas, and when I was 8 years old I started keeping a journal. Last week I finished my 30th.

 

10. My favorite movies are The Invisible Man, The Petrified Forest, and Amélie. My favorite TV show is Mystery Science Theater 3000. My favorite books are the The Wizard of Oz series. My favorite song is Sarah Vaughan's version of "Darn That Dream", and my favorite cartoon character is Snidely Whiplash. My favorite animals are the hedgehog, the fox, the tiger, and yes, the donkey. My favorite color is always changing.

 

11. I also love toys. The comic artist Lynda Barry said that toys are "outfits for innerspace creatures", and I think that's very true and profound. I project personalities into my toys, make them have epic adventures and soap operas, and yes, take pictures of them! I think it helps my own personality keep stabilized. :^)

 

12. I LOVE clothes and fashion, but I am too poor to be fashionable. :^( I've developed my own style, a mix of Goodwill couture and homemade stuff (I knit, crochet, make jewelry, and sew a tiny bit of a little)...you'd be surprised how well it works. I don't have a lot of clothes, per se, but I have LOTS of accessories...tons of purses and shoes. Mix-and-match is a genius concept. On very rare, special occasions, I even put on makeup. My skin's extremely sensitive and I can't wear it very often. This makes me sad, because I want to be glamorous and beautiful more than anything else in the world. Unfortunately, I fit into many categories but 'beauty queen' is not one of them. :^(

 

13. I only have one sibling, a sister two years older than me. She is both my best friend and my mortal enemy. She is the stupidest, most embarrassing person I know, and is also filled with such words of wisdom as (my personal favorite): "No matter how bad your situation gets, it could always be worse. You could be Hitler." We are always bickering, but we have very few friends outside of ourselves so we have to take what we can get. We're too similar anyway.

 

14. From July 2005 to March 2008 I lived in Nebraska, the state where I was born, and I hated every minute of it. I'm never going back. The people are closed-minded and provincial. The endless fields of corn will drive you mad. Your relatives will want you over for dinner every week. I speak from experience. Though it proved to be the location of my own personal coming of age, it was also the most depressing experience of my life. And THAT is how Turner Classic Movies saved my life...watching old movies kept me distanced from a truly horrible situation. God Bless Robert Osborne.

 

15. Do you remember when all children were forced to learn to play the piano? And they had to practice for an hour every day? I wish The Law Of Pianos was still in effect. EVERYBODY should learn to play some sort of music. Learning to *play* music, not just listening to it, will open up whole areas of your mind you didn't know existed...making music makes you smarter. It makes you a better person. It just might also get you dates. Win-win.

 

16. I'm pro-life and pro-Gay Marriage. I believe that everybody deserves to live and be loved.

 

...Except for Hitler.

This portrait of madonna has Pop Art and Warhol influences, especialy his use of the iconic image of Marilyn Munrow. (And thanks to Tina for reminding me i had not stated this!

 

"Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie (born August 16, 1958) is an American pop singer-songwriter, musician, dancer, record producer, film producer, actress, film director and author. She is known for the use of sexual, social and religious themes in her work and has been nicknamed the "Material Girl" and "Queen Of Pop" by the media. Since her debut in 1982, Madonna has released many chart-topping albums and singles, and has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. Billboard reported that her 2006 Confessions Tour holds the record for the highest grossing concert tour by a female artist. According to both the 2007 Guinness Book of Records, and Forbes, she is the top earning female singer in the world with an estimated net worth of over $325 million. In 2001, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Madonna as the "World’s Most-successful Female Musician". She is the 2nd most successful top selling female artist in the US according to the RIAA, and 15th biggest selling artist overall. In the United Kingdom, she is the most successful female in the UK album chart history, having sold 3.9 million copies of her compilation The Immaculate Collection there alone. In 2005, she tied with Elvis Presley's record of 36 top 10 hits, the most for any artist in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 charts. RIAA named Madonna the Best Selling Female Rock Artist of the twentieth century.

 

Madonna opposes United States President George W. Bush. She endorsed Wesley Clark's Democratic nomination for the 2004 United States presidential election in an impassioned letter to her fans, saying at the time that "the future I wish for my children is at risk." In the autumn of 2006, she expressed her support for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 election. Most recently, she stated that she would be behind Al Gore if he decided to run for the 2008 elections after seeing his documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. She also urged her fans to see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.

 

Since the late 1990s, Madonna has been a devotee of the Kabbalah Centre and a disciple of its head Rabbi Philip Berg and his wife Karen. Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie attend Kabbalah classes and have been reported to have adopted a number of aspects of the movement associated with Judaism.

 

On August 11, 2000, Madonna gave birth to a son, Rocco John Ritchie in Los Angeles, California, with Guy Ritchie, whom she had met in 1999 through mutual friends Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler. On December 22, 2000, Madonna and Ritchie were married in Scotland. As of 2007, Madonna resides in Marylebone, London and her country estate in Wiltshire, with Ritchie and their 3 children.

 

Update: Madonna and Guy Richie are divorced. She took over in their London House and he their Wiltshire mansion. I assume that she will move back to the USA now.

 

Adapted from: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_(entertainer)

  

The most beautiful women in TV and Movie History now become Barbie Collector Dolls created by acclaimed re-paint Artist Donna Brinkley.

 

Farrah Leni Fawcett is known as the world's Sexiest Star of all time... she will forever be one of Hollywood's greatest Icons. She was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the younger of two daughters.[3] Her mother, Pauline Alice January 30, 1914 – March 4, 2005), was a homemaker, and her father, James William Fawcett (October 14, 1917 – August 23, 2010), was an oil field contractor. Her sister was Diane Fawcett Walls (October 27, 1938 – October 16, 2001), a graphic artist. She was of Irish, French, English, and Choctaw Native American ancestry. Fawcett once said the name Ferrah was made up by her mother because it went well with their last name.

 

A Roman Catholic, Fawcett's early education was at the parish school of the church her family attended, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Corpus Christi. She graduated from W. B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, where she was voted Most Beautiful by her classmates her Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years of High School. For three years, 1965–68, Fawcett attended the University of Texas at Austin, living one semester in Jester Center, and she became a sister of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. During her Freshman year, she was named one of the Ten Most Beautiful Coeds on Campus, the first time a Freshman had been chosen. Their photos were sent to various agencies in Hollywood. David Mirsch, a Hollywood agent called her and urged her to come to Los Angeles. She turned him down but he called her for the next two years. Finally, in 1968, the summer following her junior year, with her parents' permission to try her luck in Hollywood, Farrah moved to Hollywood. She did not return.

 

Upon arriving in Hollywood in 1968 she was signed to a $350 a week contract with Screen Gems. She began to appear in commercials for UltraBrite toothpaste, Noxema, Max Factor, Wella Balsam shampoo and conditioner, Mercury Cougar automobiles and Beauty Rest matresses. Fawcett's earliest acting appearances were guest spots on The Flying Nun and I Dream of Jeannie. She made numerous other TV appearances including Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, [Mayberry RFD]] and The Partridge Family. She appeared in four episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man with husband Lee Majors, The Dating Game, S.W.A.T and a recurring role on Harry O alongside David Janssen. She also appeared in the Made for TV movies, The Feminist and the Fuzz, The Great American Beauty Contest, The Girl Who Came Giftwrapped, and Murder of Flight 502.

 

She had a sizable part in the 1969 French romantic-drama, Love Is a Funny Thing. She played opposite Raquel Welch and Mae West in the film version of, Myra Breckinridge (1970). The film earned negative reviews and was a box office flop. However, much has been written and said about the scene where Farrah and Raquel share a bed, and a near sexual experience. Fawcett co-starred with Michael York and Richard Jordan in the well-received science-fiction film, Logan's Run in 1976.

 

In 1976, Pro Arts Inc., pitched the idea of a poster of Fawcett to her agent, and a photo shoot was arranged with photographer Bruce McBroom, who was hired by the poster company. According to friend Nels Van Patten, Fawcett styled her own hair and did her make-up without the aid of a mirror. Her blonde highlights were further heightened by a squeeze of lemon juice. From 40 rolls of film, Fawcett herself selected her six favorite pictures, eventually narrowing her choice to the one that made her famous. The resulting poster, of Fawcett in a one-piece red bathing suit, was a best-seller; sales estimates ranged from over 5 million[12] to 8 million to as high as 12 million copies.

 

On March 21, 1976, the first appearance of Fawcett playing the character Jill Munroe in Charlie's Angels was aired as a movie of the week. Fawcett and her husband were frequent tennis partners of producer Aaron Spelling, and he and his producing partner thought of casting Fawcett as the golden girl Jill because of his friendship with the couple. The movie starred Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Fawcett (then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors) as private investigators for Townsend Associates, a detective agency run by a reclusive multi-millionaire whom the women had never met. Voiced by John Forsythe, the Charles Townsend character presented cases and dispensed advice via a speakerphone to his core team of three female employees, whom he referred to as Angels. They were aided in the office and occasionally in the field by two male associates, played by character actors David Doyle and David Ogden Stiers. The program quickly earned a huge following, leading the network to air it a second time and approve production for a series, with the pilot's principal cast except David Ogden Stiers.

Fawcett's record-breaking poster that sold 12 million copies.

 

The Charlie's Angels series formally debuted on September 22, 1976. Fawcett emerged as a fan favorite in the show, and the actress won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Performer in a New TV Program. In a 1977 interview with TV Guide, Fawcett said: When the show was number three, I thought it was our acting. When we got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.

 

Fawcett's appearance in the television show boosted sales of her poster, and she earned far more in royalties from poster sales than from her salary for appearing in Charlie's Angels. Her hairstyle went on to become an international trend, with women sporting a Farrah-do a Farrah-flip, or simply Farrah hair Iterations of her hair style predominated American women's hair styles well into the 1980s.

 

Fawcett left Charlie's Angels after only one season and Cheryl Ladd replaced her on the show, portraying Jill Munroe's younger sister Kris Munroe. Numerous explanations for Fawcett's precipitous withdrawal from the show were offered over the years. The strain on her marriage due to her long absences most days due to filming, as her then-husband Lee Majors was star of an established television show himself, was frequently cited, but Fawcett's ambitions to broaden her acting abilities with opportunities in films have also been given. Fawcett never officially signed her series contract with Spelling due to protracted negotiations over royalties from her image's use in peripheral products, which led to an even more protracted lawsuit filed by Spelling and his company when she quit the show.

 

The show was a major success throughout the world, maintaining its appeal in syndication, spawning a cottage industry of peripheral products, particularly in the show's first three seasons, including several series of bubble gum cards, two sets of fashion dolls, numerous posters, puzzles, and school supplies, novelizations of episodes, toy vans, and a board game, all featuring Fawcett's likeness. The Angels also appeared on the covers of magazines around the world, from countless fan magazines to TV Guide (four times) to Time Magazine.

 

The series ultimately ran for five seasons. As part of a settlement to a lawsuit over her early departure, Fawcett returned for six guest appearances over seasons three and four of the series.

 

In 2004, the television movie Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie's Angels dramatized the events from the show with supermodel and actress Tricia Helfer portraying Fawcett and Ben Browder portraying Lee Majors, Fawcett's then-husband.

 

In 1983, Fawcett won critical acclaim for her role in the Off-Broadway stage production of the controversial play Extremities, written by William Mastrosimone. Replacing Susan Sarandon, she was a would-be rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker. She described the role as the most grueling, the most intense, the most physically demanding and emotionally exhausting of her career. During one performance, a stalker in the audience disrupted the show by asking Fawcett if she had received the photos and letters he had mailed her. Police removed the man and were able only to issue a summons for disorderly conduct.

 

The following year, her role as a battered wife in the fact-based television movie The Burning Bed (1984) earned her the first of her four Emmy Award nominations. The project is noted as being the first television movie to provide a nationwide 800 number that offered help for others in the situation, in this case victims of domestic abuse. It was the highest-rated television movie of the season.

 

In 1986, Fawcett appeared in the movie version of Extremities, which was also well received by critics, and for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.

 

She appeared in Jon Avnet's Between Two Women with Colleen Dewhurst, and took several more dramatic roles as infamous or renowned women. She was nominated for Golden Globe awards for roles as Beate Klarsfeld in Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story and troubled Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton in Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story, and won a CableACE Award for her 1989 portrayal of groundbreaking LIFE magazine photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White in Double Exposure: The Story of Margaret Bourke-White. Her 1989 portrayal of convicted murderer Diane Downs in the miniseries Small Sacrifices earned her a second Emmy nomination[20] and her sixth Golden Globe Award nomination. The miniseries won a Peabody Award for excellence in television, with Fawcett's performance singled out by the organization, which stated Ms. Fawcett brings a sense of realism rarely seen in television miniseries (to) a drama of unusual power Art meets life.

 

Fawcett, who had steadfastly resisted appearing nude in magazines throughout the 1970s and 1980s (although she appeared topless in the 1980 film Saturn 3), caused a major stir by posing semi-nude in the December 1995 issue of Playboy.[citation needed] At the age of 50, she returned to Playboy with a pictorial for the July 1997 issue, which also became a top seller. The issue and its accompanying video featured Fawcett painting on canvas using her body, which had been an ambition of hers for years.

 

That same year, Fawcett was chosen by Robert Duvall to play his wife in an independent feature film he was producing, The Apostle. Fawcett received an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Actress for the film, which was highly critically acclaimed.

 

In 2000, she worked with director Robert Altman and an all-star cast in the feature film Dr. T the Women, playing the wife of Richard Gere (her character has a mental breakdown, leading to her first fully nude appearance). Also that year, Fawcett's collaboration with sculptor Keith Edmier was exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, later traveling to The Andy Warhol Museum. The sculpture was also presented in a series of photographs and a book by Rizzoli.

 

In November 2003, Fawcett prepared for her return to Broadway in a production of Bobbi Boland, the tragicomic tale of a former Miss Florida. However, the show never officially opened, closing before preview performances. Fawcett was described as vibrating with frustration at the producer's extraordinary decision to cancel the production. Only days earlier the same producer closed an Off-Broadway show she had been backing.

 

Fawcett continued to work in television, with well-regarded appearances in made-for-television movies and on popular television series including Ally McBeal and four episodes each of Spin City and The Guardian, her work on the latter show earning her a third Emmy nomination in 2004.

 

Fawcett was married to Lee Majors, star of television's The Six Million Dollar Man, from 1973 to 1982, although the couple separated in 1979. During her marriage, she was known and credited in her roles as Farrah Fawcett-Majors.

 

From 1979 until 1997 Fawcett was involved romantically with actor Ryan O'Neal. The relationship produced a son, Redmond James Fawcett O'Neal, born January 30, 1985 in Los Angeles.[26] In April 2009, on probation for driving under the influence, Redmond was arrested for possession of narcotics while Fawcett was in the hospital.[citation needed] On June 22, 2009, The Los Angeles Times and Reuters reported that Ryan O'Neal had said that Fawcett had agreed to marry him as soon as she felt strong enough.

 

From 1997 to 1998, Fawcett had a relationship with Canadian filmmaker James Orr, writer and producer of the Disney feature film in which she co-starred with Chevy Chase and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Man of the House. The relationship ended when Orr was charged with and later convicted of beating Fawcett during a 1998 fight between the two.

 

On June 5, 1997, Fawcett received negative commentary after giving a rambling interview and appearing distracted on Late Show with David Letterman. Months later, she told the host of The Howard Stern Show her behavior was just her way of joking around with the television host, partly in the guise of promoting her Playboy pictoral and video, explaining what appeared to be random looks across the theater was just her looking and reacting to fans in the audience. Though the Letterman appearance spawned speculation and several jokes at her expense, she returned to the show a week later, with success, and several years later, after Joaquin Phoenix's mumbling act on a February 2009 appearance on The Late Show, Letterman wrapped up the interview by saying, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight and recalled Fawcett's earlier appearance by noting we owe an apology to Farrah Fawcett.

 

Fawcett's elder sister, Diane Fawcett Walls, died from lung cancer just before her 63rd birthday, on October 16, 2001.[33] The fifth episode of her 2005 Chasing Farrah series followed the actress home to Texas to visit with her father, James, and mother, Pauline. Pauline Fawcett died soon after, on March 4, 2005, at the age of 91.

 

Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, and began treatment, including chemotherapy and surgery. Four months later, on her 60th birthday, the Associated Press wire service reported that Fawcett was, at that point, cancer free.

 

Less than four months later, in May 2007, Fawcett brought a small digital video camera to document a doctor's office visit. There, she was told a malignant polyp was found where she had been treated for the initial cancer. Doctors contemplated whether to implant a radiation seeder (which differs from conventional radiation and is used to treat other types of cancer). Fawcett's U.S. doctors told her that she would require a colostomy. Instead, Fawcett traveled to Germany for treatments described variously in the press as holistic aggressive and alternative. There, Dr. Ursula Jacob prescribed a treatment including surgery to remove the anal tumor, and a course of perfusion and embolization for her liver cancer by Doctors Claus Kiehling and Thomas Vogl in Germany, and chemotherapy back in Fawcett's home town of Los Angeles. Although initially the tumors were regressing, their reappearance a few months later necessitated a new course, this time including laser ablation therapy and chemoembolization. Aided by friend Alana Stewart, Fawcett documented her battle with the disease.

 

In early April 2009, Fawcett, back in the United States, was hospitalized, with media reports declaring her unconscious and in critical condition, although subsequent reports indicated her condition was not so dire. On April 6, the Associated Press reported that her cancer had metastasized to her liver, a development Fawcett had learned of in May 2007 and which her subsequent treatments in Germany had targeted. The report denied that she was unconscious, and explained that the hospitalization was due not to her cancer but a painful abdominal hematoma that had been the result of a minor procedure. Her spokesperson emphasized she was not at death's door adding - She remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humor ... She's been in great shape her whole life and has an incredible resolve and an incredible resilience. Fawcett was released from the hospital on April 9, picked up by longtime companion O'Neal, and, according to her doctor, was walking and in great spirits and looking forward to celebrating Easter at home.

 

A month later, on May 7, Fawcett was reported as critically ill, with Ryan O'Neal quoted as saying she now spends her days at home, on an IV, often asleep. The Los Angeles Times reported Fawcett was in the last stages of her cancer and had the chance to see her son Redmond in April 2009, although shackled and under supervision, as he was then incarcerated. Her 91-year-old father, James Fawcett, flew out to Los Angeles to visit.

 

The cancer specialist that was treating Fawcett in L.A., Dr. Lawrence Piro, and Fawcett's friend and Angels co-star Kate Jackson – a breast cancer survivor – appeared together on The Today Show dispelling tabloid-fueled rumors, including suggestions Fawcett had ever been in a coma, had ever reached 86 pounds, and had ever given up her fight against the disease or lost the will to live. Jackson decried such fabrications, saying they really do hurt a human being and a person like Farrah. Piro recalled when it became necessary for Fawcett to undergo treatments that would cause her to lose her hair, acknowledging Farrah probably has the most famous hair in the world but also that it is not a trivial matter for any cancer patient, whose hair affects [one's] whole sense of who [they] are. Of the documentary, Jackson averred Fawcett didn't do this to show that 'she' is unique, she did it to show that we are all unique ... This was ... meant to be a gift to others to help and inspire them.

 

The two-hour documentary Farrah's Story, which was filmed by Fawcett and friend Alana Stewart, aired on NBC on May 15, 2009.[47] The documentary was watched by nearly nine million people at its premiere airing, and it was re-aired on the broadcast network's cable stations MSNBC, Bravo and Oxygen. Fawcett earned her fourth Emmy nomination posthumously on July 16, 2009, as producer of Farrah's Story.

 

Controversy surrounded the aired version of the documentary, with her initial producing partner, who had worked with her four years earlier on her reality series Chasing Farrah, alleging O'Neal's and Stewart's editing of the program was not in keeping with Fawcett's wishes to more thoroughly explore rare types of cancers such as her own and alternative methods of treatment. He was especially critical of scenes showing Fawcett's son visiting her for the last time, in shackles, while she was nearly unconscious in bed. Fawcett had generally kept her son out of the media, and his appearances were minimal in Chasing Farrah.

 

Fawcett died at approximately 9:28 am, PDT on June 25, 2009, in the intensive care unit of Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, with O'Neal and Stewart by her side. A private funeral was held in Los Angeles on June 30. Fawcett's son Redmond was permitted to leave his California detention center to attend his mother's funeral, where he gave the first reading.

 

The night of her death, ABC aired an hour-long special episode of 20/20 featuring clips from several of Barbara Walters' past interviews with Fawcett as well as new interviews with Ryan O'Neal, Jaclyn Smith, Alana Stewart, and Dr. Lawrence Piro. Walters followed up on the story on Friday's episode of 20/20. CNN's Larry King Live planned a show exclusively about Fawcett that evening until the death of Michael Jackson several hours later caused the program to shift to cover both stories. Cher, a longtime friend of Fawcett, and Suzanne de Passe, executive producer of Fawcett's Small Sacrifices mini-series, both paid tribute to Fawcett on the program. NBC aired a Dateline NBC special Farrah Fawcett: The Life and Death of an Angel; the following evening, June 26, preceded by a rebroadcast of Farrah's Story in prime time. That weekend and the following week, television tributes continued. MSNBC aired back-to-back episodes of its Headliners and Legends episodes featuring Fawcett and Jackson. TV Land aired a mini-marathon of Charlie's Angels and Chasing Farrah episodes. E! aired Michael and Farrah: Lost Icons and the The Biography Channel aired Bio Remembers: Farrah Fawcett. The documentary Farrah's Story re-aired on the Oxygen Network and MSNBC.

 

Larry King said of the Fawcett phenomenon,

TV had much more impact back in the '70s than it does today. Charlie's Angels got huge numbers every week – nothing really dominates the television landscape like that today. Maybe American Idol comes close, but now there are so many channels and so many more shows it's hard for anything to get the audience, or amount of attention, that Charlie's Angels got. Farrah was a major TV star when the medium was clearly dominant.

 

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner said Farrah was one of the iconic beauties of our time. Her girl-next-door charm combined with stunning looks made her a star on film, TV and the printed page.

 

Kate Jackson said,

She was a selfless person who loved her family and friends with all her heart, and what a big heart it was. Farrah showed immense courage and grace throughout her illness and was an inspiration to those around her... I will remember her kindness, her cutting dry wit and, of course, her beautiful smile...when you think of Farrah, remember her smiling because that is exactly how she wanted to be remembered: smiling.

 

She is buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

 

The red one-piece bathing suit worn by Farrah in her famous 1976 poster was donated to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (NMAH) on February 2, 2011.[65] Said to have been purchased at a Saks Fifth Avenue store, the red Lycra suit made by the leading Australian swimsuit company Speedo, was donated to the Smithsonian by her executors and was formally presented to NMAH in Washington D.C. by her longtime companion Ryan O'Neal.[66] The suit and the poster are expected to go on temporary display sometime in 2011–12. They will be made additions to the Smithsonian's popular culture department.

 

The famous poster of Farrah in a red swimsuit has been produced as a Barbie doll. The limited edition dolls, complete with a gold chain and the girl-next-door locks, have been snapped up by Barbie fans.

 

In 2011, Men's Health named her one of the 100 Hottest Women of All-Time ranking her at No. 31

world hot and sexy actress jessica alba

German postcard by Film und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. A 1799. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Film.

 

English actress Hayley Mills (1946) began her acting career as a popular child star and was hailed as a promising newcomer for Tiger Bay (1959), and Pollyanna (1960). During the late 1960s she played in more mature roles. Although she has not maintained the box office success she experienced as a child actress, she has always continued to make films.

 

Hayley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills was born in London, England in 1946. She was the daughter of actor Sir John Mills and playwright Mary Hayley Bell, and the younger sister of actress Juliet Mills. As an infant she made her first film appearance in her father’s So Well Remembered (1947). At 12 she was noticed playing at her parent's home by director J. Lee Thompson. He was looking for a boy to play the lead role of a murder witness in his thriller Tiger Bay (1959) opposite Horst Buchholz and John Mills, but immediately cast Mills’ tomboy daughter. For her role she won the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer and a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Walt Disney's wife, Lillian Disney, saw her performance and suggested that Mills be given the lead role in Pollyanna (1960, David Swift). The role of the orphaned but infectiously optimistic girl who moves in with her crusty aunt Polly (Jane Wyman) made Mills a superstar in the USA. She earned a special Juvenile Oscar and a Golden Globe. Disney subsequently cast Mills as twins Sharon and Susan who reunite their divorced parents (Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara) in the charming and highly entertaining The Parent Trap (1961, David Swift), based on the classic book by Erich Kästner. In the film, Mills sings the song Let's Get Together, which reached no. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The success led to the album Let's Get Together with Hayley Mills, which also included her only other hit song, Johnny Jingo (1962). She made four additional films for Disney in a four-year span, including In Search of the Castaways (1962, Robert Stevenson) with Maurice Chevalier, and Summer Magic (1963, James Neilson). Her final two Disney films, The Moon-Spinners (1964, James Neilson) with Pola Negri, and the suspense comedy That Darn Cat! (1965, Robert Stevenson), did well at the box office. During her six-year run at Disney, Mills was arguably the most popular child actress of the era. In addition to her Disney movies, Mills starred in several British films. Opposite Alan Bates she appeared in Whistle Down the Wind (1961, Bryan Forbes), based on the book of the same title written by her mother Mary Hayley Bell. The Chalk Garden (1964, Ronald Neame) with Deborah Kerr was based on a play by Enid Bagnold, and in The Truth About Spring (1965, Richard Thorpe) her real father, John Mills, was cast as her father. The 16-year-old Mills was considered for the role of Lolita Haze in Stanley Kubrick's film version of Lolita (1962). However, Walt Disney discouraged the casting, feeling the role was not up to Disney's wholesome standard, and the part eventually went to Sue Lyon. In later years, Mills admitted that she regretted not taking the part.

 

After her contract with Disney expired in 1965, Hayley Mills starred in the comedy The Trouble with Angels (1966, Ida Lupino), opposite Rosalind Russell. Looking to break from her sunny, innocent Pollyanna image, Mills returned to England to appear as a mentally challenged teenager in the film Sky West and Crooked (1966), which was directed by her father and written by her mother. She made her stage debut in a West End revival of Peter Pan (1966). Shortly thereafter, Mills starred with Hywell Bennett in the comedy The Family Way (1966, Roy Boulting) as a couple of newlyweds having difficulty consummating their marriage. The film, in which she played a brief nude scene, featured a score by Paul McCartney and arrangements by Beatles producer George Martin. She then starred as the protagonist of Pretty Polly (1967, Guy Green) , opposite famous Indian film actor Shashi Kapoor in Singapore, and another film for director Roy Boulting, the thriller Twisted Nerve (1968) again opposite Hywell Bennett. While filming The Family Way, the 20-year-old Mills had fallen in love with Boulting, who was 53-year-old and married. After his divorce, they married in 1971. Boulting took control of his young wife’s career, and, as a result, she made bad film choices that left critics and audiences cold, such as the Agatha Christie adaptation Endless Night (1972, Sidney Gilliat) co-starring Britt Ekland and George Sanders. After the even worse drama The Kingfisher Caper (1975, Dirk de Villiers) and the comedy What Changed Charley Farthing? (1976, Sidney Hayers), Mills dropped out of the film industry for a few years. In 1977 she divorced Boulting. And as Tommy Peter at IMDb observes: “her film career had pretty much tanked”.

 

In 1981 Hayley Mulls made a come-back in a starring role in the TV Mini-series The Flame Trees of Thika (1981, Roy Ward Baker), based on Elspeth Huxley's memoir of her childhood in East Africa. The series was well-received, prompting Mills to accept more acting roles. She returned to the US, and hosted for TV an episode of Disneyland (1981), sparking renewed interest in her Disney work. In 1986 she reprised her roles as twins Sharon and Susan for a trio of Parent Trap television movies: The Parent Trap II (1986, Ronald F. Maxwell), The Parent Trap III (1989, Mollie Miller), and The Parent Trap IV: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989, Mollie Miller). Mills also starred as the title character in the Disney Channel-produced television series Good Morning, Miss Bliss (1987-1989). The show was cancelled after 14 episodes, and the rights were acquired by NBC, which reformatted Good Morning, Miss Bliss into Saved by the Bell (without Mills). Hayley Mills was involved with the ‘Hare Krishna’ movement, and wrote the preface to The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking (1984). In 1988 she co-edited, with Marcus Maclaine, the book My God, which consisted of brief letters from celebrities on their beliefs (or lack thereof) regarding God and the life to come. She then concentrated on a stage career and had success as Anna in The King and I, which she played in touring stage productions throughout the 1990's. In 2000 she made her Off Broadway debut in Sir Noël Coward's Suite in Two Keys, for which she won a Theatre World Award. In recognition for her work with The Walt Disney Company, Mills was awarded the prestigious Disney Legends award in 1998. Mills recalled her childhood in the documentary film Sir John Mills' Moving Memories (2000) which was written by her brother Jonathan. Later she appeared in the acclaimed short film, Stricken (2005, Jayce Bartok), the ITV1 African vet drama Wild at Heart (2007-) with her sister Juliet Mills, and in the family adventure Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure (2010, Joy Chapman), based on one of the popular Mandie novels of Lois Gladys Leppard. Most recently she was seen in Foster (2011, Jonathan Newman) with Toni Colette. In 2008, Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery and chemotherapy and told Good Housekeeping Magazine in January 2012 that she had recovered. Hayley Mills currently lives in New York City. Her son, Crispian Mills (1973), is known as the lead singer and guitarist of the psychedelic rock band Kula Shaker. He is now part of The Jeevas. She has a second son, Jason Lawson, from British actor Leigh Lawson, with whom she had a relationship between 1976 and 1984.

 

Sources: Tommy Peter (IMDb), Reel Classics, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

srilankaactressmodel.blogspot.com/2010/12/srilankan-modls...

 

She’s bold. She’s beautiful. She’s intelligent. She is everything in one package. She is Sarah Stephani Walker – a new generation model who is blessed with all the right features.

 

You are just 19…but you appear to be more mature then your age?

“Well, I don’t think maturity comes with age, it comes with experience and attitude towards life.

   

Are you happy about your journey so far in the glamour world?

“Of course, there’s nothing to grumble about. I have posed for magazines as a model and have also done a couple of popular visuals. I believe I have a long journey to make in this field.

  

Are you happy with the feedback you are getting now?

“It’s so flattering to know that you are recognized by the people. However I make it a point to change my outlook quite regularly and that makes people wonder who this new girl is. I like to be different at all times. I love changes in life and my looks. Looking different is so lovely, I should say.

   

Any links to glamour in your family?

“No, not in my immediate family circle but I had a cousin called Tissa who really supported and motivated me into this field. I am also grateful to Rozanne Diasz who helped m a lot.

   

What kind of person is this ‘Sarah’?

“Oh she is a shy reserved type of person who comes out of her shell when the camera is switched on. I respect people and their views. I hate people who try to show off. I always want to have my feet firmly placed on the ground.

   

Was it your dream to become a model some day?

“Not really, but these thoughts were playing up in my mind from my schooldays as well. I was also dreaming of becoming a teacher, just like any other girl. I will be following a pre school teacher training course soon. Whatever I do, I want to do them in a professional manner. I must thank my director Rasika who helps me maintain this standard in the field.

   

Are you happy about your journey so far in the glamour world?

“Of course, there’s nothing to grumble about. I have posed for magazines as a model and have also done a couple of popular visuals. I believe I have a long journey to make in this field.

  

Are you happy with the feedback you are getting now?

“It’s so flattering to know that you are recognized by the people. However I make it a point to change my outlook quite regularly and that makes people wonder who this new girl is. I like to be different at all times. I love changes in life and my looks. Looking different is so lovely, I should say.

   

Any links to glamour in your family?

“No, not in my immediate family circle but I had a cousin called Tissa who really supported and motivated me into this field. I am also grateful to Rozanne Diasz who helped m a lot.

   

What kind of person is this ‘Sarah’?

“Oh she is a shy reserved type of person who comes out of her shell when the camera is switched on. I respect people and their views. I hate people who try to show off. I always want to have my feet firmly placed on the ground.

   

Was it your dream to become a model some day?

“Not really, but these thoughts were playing up in my mind from my schooldays as well. I was also dreaming of becoming a teacher, just like any other girl. I will be following a pre school teacher training course soon. Whatever I do, I want to do them in a professional manner. I must thank my director Rasika who helps me maintain this standard in the field.

Mariah Carey - We Belong Together

Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1969 or 1970) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. In 1990, she rose to fame with the release of "Vision of Love" from her eponymous debut album. The album produced four chart-topping singles in the US and began what would become a string of commercially successful albums which solidified the singer as Columbia's highest selling act. Carey and Boyz II Men spent a record sixteen weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995–96 with "One Sweet Day," which remains the longest-running number-one song in US chart history. Following a contentious divorce from Sony Music head Tommy Mottola, Carey adopted a new image and traversed towards hip hop with the release of Butterfly (1997). In 1998, she was honored as the world's best-selling recording artist of the 1990s at the World Music Awards and subsequently named the best-selling female artist of the millennium in 2000.

Carey parted with Columbia in 2000, and signed a record-breaking $100 million recording contract with Virgin Records America. In the weeks prior to the release of her film Glitter and its accompanying soundtrack in 2001, she suffered a physical and emotional breakdown and was hospitalized for severe exhaustion. The project was poorly received and led to a general decline in the singer's career. Carey's recording contract was bought out for $50 million by Virgin and she signed a multi-million dollar deal with Island Records the following year. After a relatively unsuccessful period, she returned to the top of music charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). The album became the best-selling album in the US and the second best-seller worldwide in 2005 and produced "We Belong Together," which became her most successful single of the 2000s, and was later named "Song of the Decade" by Billboard. Carey once again ventured into film with a well-received supporting role in Precious (2009), and was awarded the "Breakthrough Performance Award" at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

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Theme Borrowed from the mystery novel:

Tread softly into the Darkness.

Subtit“Folle est la brebis qui au loup se confesse!”le:

*************************************

 

He had just walked out of the Gentlemen’s smoking lounge, when he felt a hand placed upon his shoulder, and a whiff of perfume. From behind his back came a soft feminine voice with a slight Yank drawl.

 

Excuse me sir, can I ask you do me the kindness of a favor? He turned, looking down into the most enchanting pair of smiling blue eyes. He beamed into her worried face, watching with pleasure as she gave him a timid smile back. If I am able mi-lady he honestly answered, deciding in a split second that this damsel was indeed was in a bit of distress, as his sharp grey eyes wolfishly drank her image in.

 

Her long blond hair was held up in back held in back, secured by a pair of twin diamond clips that erupted out expensive glitters in a fierce storm of intense colours as she moved her head. Her ears were home to a set of dangling diamond earrings that sparkled expensively, beckoningly, as they attracted interest to her face. She was quite nice-looking, in a mousey sort of way, her appearance helped by the flattering longish hunters green gown she wore: a long soft velvet skirt with a tight glossy satin bodice. Her gloveless hands and wrists were bare of any jewel to take away notice from her face. She had a black satin cape draped over one arm, along with a pair of green velvet gloves held tightly in one hand, along with a rhinestone clasped clutch matching her gown. As a movie producer, the man had learned that first impressions mean everything, and that for one as busy as himself, he needed to garner as much info as he could from them. He could tell this one wanted to ask him something, and seemed nervous about the proposal.

 

This is rather awkward she said, her eyes becoming large like a frightened kitten, but my date sort of left with someone else, and I realized that I have to walk to my car alone. I tried to ask one of the staff, but he just laughed in my face. Her lips drooped at this last part. Then I saw you leaving, and was hoping…. Her voice trailed off meekly.

 

He was surprised, he had just thought she had recognized him and was going to ask for an autograph, so much for his ego he reasoned. And his heart was touched by the wretchedness of this poor creature too scared to venture out into the parking lot alone, albeit, it did have very poor lighting he reasoned as he spoke in answer to her plea. He studied her for a few seconds, the look of hope in her face reaching out to him. No, he thought in a fatherly manner, as his eyes watched her dangling diamond earrings, A timid creature like this should not be out walking alone. Any thief in the area would zero in on her and her expensive finery like a honey drone to the flower. This is what he thought, what he said was:

  

Well, I wasn’t leaving, rather actually just heading upstairs to meet up with my wife, but with a smile, added that he would be most honored to escort the young lady out. Taking her arm and he lead her towards the main lobby. American he asked? Montana she admitted sweetly, the nasally lisping twang of her western accent endearingly gripped the producer, who had a well-known fondness for American westerns.

  

At the door he helped her on with her wrap, she faced him, her eyes brimming with gratitude. She reached up and stroked the side of his face; you’re a dear for doing this! You really are! She hugged him tightly, her warm figure feeling quite nice against his, as he felt her beating heart. As she started to slowly put on her long soft gloves, He made the mistake of asking how she ended up here in England? Ten minutes later she was still going strong in her story, standing on the spot and showing no sign of moving. He finally had to gently take her by the arm guide her out the door to her destination, as the talkative enchantress kept on with her story, never missing a beat.

 

He led her happily across the roundabout and along the path to the lot. Her car, a red roadster, was parked at the very furthest end. They reached it, and he opened the door for her, she threw her satin cape in the back, and Just before getting in she reached out, and with a gleam in her eyes, gave him another all-encompassing embrace. Ohh thank you, kind sir she cried happily, and breaking away, entered the car and started the engine roaring to life. He closed the door and watched as she drove away, giving him a wave as she turned the corner going out onto the road that bordered the park that surrounded the civic center-hotel complex.

 

He turned and walked back towards the lobby. Whistling to himself as he thought about his good deed completed for the rather charming damsel in distress. Out of habit he started to check his W &D Rolex Timepiece. Damn he said, missing it as he felt his silk vest pockets, damn It ! , I must have lost it in the lounge. He headed back there immediately, losing all thought of the charming young lady from Montana he had just left.

 

20 minutes earlier

 

In the bar of the Ballroom located 2 floors below the Gentlemen’s smoking lounge where a certain well-known movie producer was just finishing his cigar and brandy before venturing out and running into a certain petite Blonde form Montana.

 

A man outfitted as a waiter, coming out of a side corridor, enters the massive Ballroom. For a second, as he leaves the darkened corridor, he is blinded by the bright lights and dazzling displays laid out ever so appealingly before him.

 

A lady clad in a flowing, glittering gown, her neck, ears , wrist, and fingers laden with brite rubies, swayed past him, eyeing him indignantly as she did so. “Folle est la brebis qui au loup se confesse”, he thought to himself as he watched her swish away.

 

Then he continued looking around, letting it all soak in for a few tantalizing seconds, before spying the rather regal looking lady, holding herself every bit as the film star she was. Wearing a long satin strapless number that looked as though it had been poured over her figure, it fitted her that tightly. She was drinking by a long oak bar that took up one whole end of the mammoth, brightly lit room.

  

He walked up to her; thankfully she was alone, although it really would not have made any difference, only less likely for her to become hysterical without an audience to watch. He laid a hand upon her bare shoulder; she looked contemptuously at him, with the red bloodshot eyes of one who had been to freely imbibing of the house liquor. Pardon my interruption miss ( she liked being called that, he could see) but I’m afraid your husband has met with a small mishap. She looked into his eyes with her deep grey ones, he sensed she was possibly not all that alarmed by his statement. If you will come with me, I will take you to the ambulance that has been called for him. With a small flourish she sat her glass down. She picked up a shimmering jeweled purse that matched her gown up from the finely polished oak bar. He watched as her multiple rings flashing brilliantly as they rippled in the light. One ring in particular captured his notice, a large egg shaped diamond that emitted a peculiarly yellow light as it flashed from her ring finger. In a swirl of satin, the lady turned and followed him willingly enough to the back corridor. Only upon reaching it did she start to question him as to what on earth had happened, hiding her concern incredibly well he thought, wondering if indeed she was hiding anything.

  

Stopping to collect her wrap, a long Russian mink, he led her downstairs and to a side exit. This is a short cut he explained, as he held the door opened for him. She passed him, her hells clicking, gown whisper along the stone pathway outside. Just through these woods and around the corner he directed her as she headed off, with him keeping pace closely behind.

  

20 minutes later

 

The red roadster jarred to a stop along the, deserted, dark wooded road: causing the dangling earrings of the female driver to sparkle dimly in the moons light. She killed the round head lights and waited patiently, all sign of the worry and helplessness she had displayed earlier replaced by a coolly calm demeanor.

 

She looked around, her green gown shimmering in the bright moons light. Vie ne est pas d'attendre que la tempête , mais d'apprendre à danser sous la pluie , she whispered to herself, her voice losing its western drawl completely.

 

Reaching up she undid the expensive clips, and pulled off the wind swept yellow wig. Undoing her long , naturally flaming blood red coloured hair, she let it down, spilling down ever so like hot molten lava over the backside of her green satin gown, and along her well defined breasts, tightly outlined by the hunter’s green satin bodice in front. She then popped out the blue tinted contacts, her naturally green eyes shining with wicked pleasures in the moon lit car. She tossed both the wig and the contacts into the woods. She sat back in her seat with a contented little sigh, and prepared to wait it out.

  

She reached down and opened a man’s alligator billfold and casually started leafing through it. Then she heard it, her head raised up as her ears perked…. an owl’s hoot came from off in the distance inside the black woods. She unceremoniously threw the wallet down and restarted the engine. From those woods emerged the shadowy form of a male, wearing the white shirt, white tux and black pants of a staff servant for the nearby posh complex. He opened the passenger door, threw a heavy shiny bundle into the rumble seat and jumping over the door, climbed into the seat next to her. He leaned over and happily, deeply kissed the lady driver, and settled back contentedly as she gave gas to the motor, sending the engine racing before driving leisurely off.

  

He turned to her, wolfishly eyeballing the pretty lady driving the roadster. How did you make out my love, he asked his sweet wife. The red headed siren in green satin began speaking in her native dialect, decidedly not an American one. Her deep Irish brogue rolled the words along her tongue as she related how her part of the scheme had carried out.

  

Well Husband of mine ; after stalling him as long as He let me, I relieved him of both his fancy watch, and a wallet with over three hundred pounds she remarked triumphantly. Adding happily as she looked into his grinning face, it looks like you did pretty well yourself lover! She glanced at the bundle in the seat behind her, lying on top of a blanket, which concealed a pair of suitcases.

  

The mink and gown was a bonus he admitted. But I relieved the lady of her purse and jewels as planned stated wryly. All of her jewels she asked, licking her lips as if savoring some recent memory of the lady in question; which she in reality was, have had the opportunity to scope her out in the ballroom before attending the movie star’s husband.

  

All of them, right down to the last diamond pinky ring. Any troubles she asked, knowing full well what the answer would be. None he smirked, snaking a hand around her silky waist. He broke into an impersonation of the American actor Bogart: Darling, the dame never knew what hit her! He reached in the back and started to hide the bundle away out of obvious site.

  

But why her gown, she enquired, why chance taking the time?. It was your size he stated. Not hardly she snorted at him, but thank you for the compliment my love. So, did you have a reason other than wanting to get kicks from seeing a half-naked movie star, she teased poking him in the side.

  

Actually, my love, there was a method to my madness, he retorted. I knew that with her vanity, she will wait to find a way to somehow clothe herself before going into public to scream bloody murder about losing her jewels. And, we have the beacon for our efforts he said, grinning wickedly.

  

Excited by his words, she started to speed up a little. He squeezed his arm around her slippery slick waist, no need to hurry love, he told her in a comfortingly reassuring manner. We have plenty of time to make the morning ferry to the city of Douglas.

  

Once there, would they have time to freshen up before meeting with the mysterious dark skinned man with the heavy accent who was the acting intermediary willing to pay them the balance of the 25,000 pounds upon receipt of the yellowish looking , vulgarly large, diamond ring that a certain actress had been displaying for a time that evening.

  

Postscript:

In the early years of the Nazi regime, the Wellesley’s, a well-known Jewish family , possessed a Large yellow tinted diamond known as the Harwicke Beacon. It was the center stone of a magnificent necklace. The jewel was said to bring fortune to whomever had it in their possession. Although it had not been living up to its reputation for the family, once wealthy, had fallen upon hard times. Then to compound their misfortunes, the had to leave the family manor and flee to Switzerland under pressure from the Nazi political machine. They were caught, and the necklace was taken just as the border to freedom was in sight. They had been betrayed by a mysterious dark skinned informant from another country.

 

the Harwicke Beacon was believed to have been one of the occult relics sought by the Nazis to test and see if the mysterious powers could be harnessed for the good of the war effort.

 

Its whereabouts currently unknown, the Harwicke Beacon’s reappearance in today’s world may prove a vital clue to the treasure trove of similar occult related items( both religious and non) that were hidden by the Himmler during the collapse of Nazi Germany…..

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“Folle est la brebis qui au loup se confesse!”

(Silly is the sheep who to the wolf confesses)

 

Répétrer dans les ténèbres.

Tread softly into the Darkness.

 

Vie ne est pas d'attendre que la tempête , mais d'apprendre à danser sous la pluie .

Life is not about waiting out the storm, but about learning to dance in the rain.

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No Part of this can reprinted, duplicated, or copied be without the express written permission and approval of Chatwick University.

These photos and stories are works of fiction. Any resemblance to people, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.

As with any work of fiction or fantasy the purpose is for entertainment and/or educational purposes only, and should never be attempted in real life.

We accept no responsibility for any events occurring outside this website..

 

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Chronicles of lifting Light C (The Reception Game)

A forethought

“The wedding was a bit over the top. The bride wanted her girl’s dresses to be something they would wear out again. A nice thought, but the gowns she found were a little too long for anything but formal evening wear, according to our girls who were asked to be part of the bridal party. The maid of honour wore a red silk version; the six Bridesmaids wore theirs in black satin.” Each of the girls were also presented with a matching collection of Swarovski rhinestones “traditional classic darlings” ! The jewellery, when added to the girl’s ensemble, further enhanced the red carpet like atmosphere of the Bridal party coterie’!

 

^^^^^^^^^^

Intro of the story proper :

“A few years ago, “Ginny” was watching some type of show when I heard her squeal out. Our Golden Retriever ‘Sam’ meandered back in to see what all the fuss was about? I obediently followed. Ginny pointed out to us a model who was wearing, rather fetchingly I might add, a long black satin gown. That’s m’ gown Ginny exclaimed, you remember, the one I wore at “Sheila’s” wedding, the one where my necklace was sn…., But at that point her attention was diverted back to her program. Squirrel I teased as Sam and I watched with her.

 

It was a gown strikingly very similar in colour, cut, and material to the one worn by Ginny ( and me sister) at a chums wedding years before ( and winningly worn several times hence I might add). It is a pretty thing to behold my charming Ginny sporting it, and in its time, it has born witness to a few goings on that most ladies wearing a gown like that would never encounter…….”

 

Chronicles of lifting Light C

Story Proper

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This story is true, and is really pretty much told as it happened.

What we did may sound daft, but read and understand the circumstances, plus realize we all were pretty well lit up with drink.

 

I will plead guilty at having enhanced certain aspects of the story.

For indeed, truth can be stranger than fiction… and coincidences occur, both sweet and bitter….. as I’m sure someone once said.

 

So here goes it….

 

My twin sister and our friend “Ginny” were invited to join in a school chums bridal party. The groom didn’t have enough to go around so my sister’s boyfriend “Brian” and I were pressed, not unwillingly, into service.

 

As I stated earlier, the wedding and reception were both over the top posh. So much so that our opinions, and subsequent escapades, were still coming up amongst us as a topic of conversation at our local haunt The ‘Poet and the Peasant Pub’, kept by Brian’s Auntie and Uncle..

www.flickr.com/groups/poet_and_the_peasant__pub_/

 

The Wedding proper was held at the local Cathedral. A rather decadent place built with a hearty clash of gothic/ medieval styles ; with black stone towers, Lancet arches, and fly away buttresses.

 

Inside one finds white marble columns, oak pews blackened with age, intricate wood work and ghostly while statues. All lit with hanging diamond shaped antique glass lights and colourful lead glass stained windows depicting a horde of medieval era religious scenes.

 

I twas a fine backdrop for the rather glamoursly attired guests in attendance. The wedding ceremony itself would have been an interesting tale in and of itself, but that telling will await another day, for mine has its’ beginnings at the Reception.

 

The Reception was held in the basement, a grand place with an opulent ballroom, well stocked bar room and elegant dining area. The subterranean basement was decorated richly along the same grand lines as the interior of the ancient Cathedral above.

 

We were some time at the reception when my Ginny , who had been held up on her way back from the loo by a snobbish dowager feeling the need to criticise someone, regained her seat by plopping down with a loud woosh.

 

That was a chore, being picked apart by that “lovely !”creature. she exclaimed cynically, whilst adjusting her loose brooch. We all just smirked. I had received the same treatment from the lecturing prig earlier that evening.

  

Well, to be honest , my twin sister and Brian just actually were smirking at that. I believe my attention at the time was rather more occupied on the area where Ginny’s Brooch lay, which was the proper cause of my smirk! (naughty me)

 

Finished, Ginny than leaned against me sister, and, still reeling from being inappropriately chided, made a snide comment about the flimsy clasps on the shimmering jewellery they were wearing. My Sister, touching her necklace, told her, “ no worries, luv, no one would nick them anyways, they are only rhinestones”. Except my ring isn’t, said Ginny looking down at the ruby ring she was wearing on her pinky. My sister, thinking a minute, retorted “Then one never knows… “ , It looked like she was going to add something to that, but at that point the band restarted, and we joined the swarm of fancy dress gowns, silky dresses, suits and tuxes worn by the chic guests as they herded to the dance floor.

  

As we headed off, I was still perplexed about what had been going on in Sis’s head that made her come out with that reply, and I swear she had stolen a look at me while saying it. But as I had watched her pull at an earring to emphasize how loose the sparkling jewel was, a seed was planted in my head about a subject I myself had always found rather intriguing, pickpocketing jewelry!

  

Much later that evening, found Brian, me sister, and I alone, and probably more than a little drunk (always a precarious time with us). As Sis and Brain chatted on about a topic I had soon lost interest in, I started to watch Ginny, who had been asked to dance by some twit with shifty eyes in a red silk shirt, (open collared), who had rudely cut in on us. As I watched Ginny’s swishing gown liquidly move and flutter about in quite an interesting exhibition, I found meself mesmerized by the beckoning manner in which her healthy display of rhinestones were sparkling about( as they had been all evening). I looked back at my sister, and her own show of jewelry, also sparkling up nicely against the smooth black satin backdrop of her own matching gown..

 

Still not being able to shake me twin’s earlier comment about nicking jewels, nor its answer, out of my head , I waited for a lull in conversation to finally chance asking my twin about her comments.

 

She looked at me, having to think back a bit about the question, ( As I said, we were more drunk than sober by then), placing a nicely ringed finger to her lips, while regrouping her thoughts. Got it, she exclaimed! Proudly remembering what had triggered her memory, and with that she started to explain.

 

When she was a tyke of about 7, there was a show that she had seen on the tele that centered on this group of people trying to reform a thief. Believing that he had turned a new leaf, they threw a fancy dress dance for him in honour of his new ways. During the dance, he cut in and danced with each of the three ladies who had been trying to teach him the errors of his ways. From one he slipped off her long diamond earrings, from a second her diamond necklace was lifted away, but me sister was unsure what the scoundrel took from the third. Sis had reckoned that the earrings and necklaces that she and Ginny were wearing that evening, looked a lot like the ones worn by ( and nicked from) the ladies on that show.

  

Now, as me twin described the thief’s antics, certain emotions awakened, rearing their tantalizing heads; my mind began wandering in some deep waters, pulled bout by some deep personal emotions. Cause I had been sitting on the couch with her, when as quite young children, we had seen a repeat of that episode.

  

As it happened my sister had been outside earlier playing dress up in on of mum’s old party frocks and was still wearing it, along with a set of costume pearls. Suddenly, that day, I wanted nothing more in the world than to lift the pearls she was wearing. I simmered over it for the rest of the program, getting to the point of actually laying my arm on the back of the couch, inching my fingers towards the clasp of her pearls laying there upon the back of her throat. But then the show ended, and I got no closer to stealing anything more than a touch of a really soft old evening gown. After the show ended, I warily suggested we go back outside and play Robin Hood (my sister has always been into his story).

  

We did, and as Sir Robin led her to his hideout, conveniently located through a thicket of Hawthorne’s, the pretty Maid Marion’s pearls mysteriously melted away.

  

That is when I had I had my epiphany, hitting me like a brick wall! Waiting till sis finished her story, I pointed out to Ginny, and asked the pair, If Ginny had been the third lady he had danced with, what jeweles do you think he would have found easiest to lift from her while dancing?

  

Brian , always the more pragmatic of the group, snorted, that’s stuff that only happens in stories and movies.

 

I said I would bet it can be done, a quid says I can lift a piece of Ginny’s jewelry with her never noticing. Sis chimed in, you wouldn’t dare, but she was looking at me like she knew the answer already. Brian caught her tone, and took me up on it, betting me the quid that I couldn’t get away with lifting her necklace,( I liked his choice, it had been a necklace that “Sir Robin” had first lifted from me sisters neck that day in the woods long past).

  

At this time the music ended, and Ginny swished back to rejoin us. As we played mute about our plans, we welcomed the damsel back and acted like there had been nothing in the world goin on amongst us while she was out dancing.

 

We drank and talked for a bit more, and I was all but certain that Brian and my sister had all but forgotten the wager.

 

But I hadn’t, nor had I been able to keep my eyes from studying the glittery rhinestones Ginny had draped around her pretty throat. When a slow song started up, I rose and asked Ginny to a dance. I caught Brian’s eyes, and read the dare reflecting in them, so we were still on with the wager.

 

Leading Ginny to the dance floor, we embraced, and danced to the pretty song beginning to play, it twas a slow romantic one ( lady in red If I recall correctly). Ginny was absolute pure heaven in my arms, and I found me self so entrapped by her charms, that all ambitions to be a thief and make an attempt upon her lovely rhinestone necklace fell to the wayside.

  

As the song was ending, I caught a look from Brian across the dance floor, noticing that he smugly was looked at Ginny’s throat. I did not want to lose me quid on principle (I swear), so as the dance ended I held onto Ginny, waiting. Soon a second song started, disappointedly a more fast paced one with a Latin beat. I spun Ginny around onto the floor before she had time to catch a breath, we danced, like the song which played says:

  

And we… danced like a wave on the ocean, romanced

We were liars in love and we danced

Swept away for a moment by chance

And we danced, danced, danced

 

And dance we did, hot, furious and fast. A couple of times I spun Ginny around, and the poor girl already a bit tipsy, fell against me, giggling. About the third time I spun her, she stopped, and dropped backside into me and began to do this sort of gyrating move, slithering up and down my front side, with her hands held high above her head, her longish ginger hair had fallen over one shoulder, exposing her necklace in all its fine brilliance. As her warm, sweaty figure slipped up and down against mine, I watched the back of her throat, eyeing the necklace as it sparkled opulently in the dim lights. I started Studying, intently, the sparkly chain with it’s simple hook in eye clasp.

  

She brought her hands down behind me back, crossing them behind me waist. My right hand went to the front of her waist, holding onto her squirming, satin slippery sweating figure, pressing her warm body tightly against me.

 

My left hand went up to her shoulder, gliding along the glossy slick fabric of her black satin gown, until I reached her necklace. It only took seconds for my fingers to lift up, and slip off the hook from its”eye” , letting the shimmering chain slither down the front side of Ginny’s satin clad breasts. My right hand left her waist, and travelled nimbly, tingling, all the way up the front until my fingers grasped the dangling chain. My left hand let go, and the necklace whisked down the front of her perking bosom, tightly covered by the glossy black satin bridesmaid gown. The whole bit of thievery took me only a few chords of the music, but it seemed to be carried out in slow motion in the process.

 

We finished out the song, me basking in the fact that my gyrating partner was innocently unaware that her shiny necklace had been pinched, and were now residing in her dance partners vest pocket. I will admit feeling a twinge of regret that it no longer could be seen glittering from around its’ mistress’s now bare throat.

  

We made our way back to the others, Brian had a smug look on his bearded face, I knew he was up to something. As I sat down, he whispered double it or nothing mate, that she notices it’s missing before we leave. I nodded, taking him up on it.

 

So, the game was still on, and for the last two hours that we stayed at the reception poor Ginny became the unknowing centre of our somewhat devious game1

 

Brain, eagerly waiting for Ginny to notice her missing necklace, tried for the most part to remain mute. I sweated it a bit, but his saboteur’s tactics failed.

 

I’ll admit I hadn’t thought it out before agreeing, but what probably should have been a suckers bet, with a million ways for Ginny to notice her necklace was playing hooky, apparently was going with the long odds for me to win.

 

I sweated it a bit, butno-one else amongst the crowd pointed out, or even seemed to care that Ginny was no longer wearing her necklace! Even the bloke in the open collared re shirt, who managed to steal Ginny away for another dance, failed to say anything. Which made me a mite curious as to where his attention span had been focused.

 

Even when me sister tried to help Brian out by playing with her own jewelled necklace while she held Ginny’s attention during conversation in the ladies powder room, failed to cause a reaction!

 

Through all this, the poor creature never quite caught on that her necklace had been lifted from her throat ! Unscrupulously nicked away on a whimsical bet while innocently dancing!

 

And continued danced with me she did, all of us thoroughly enjoying the rest of the evening’s attractions, along with the bit of fun we were having at poor Ginny’s expense.! But I made damn sure that our poor victim had the time of her life for my repentance.

 

Then during our last slow dance, I did start to harbour the prickling thought of trying for another of Ginny’s baubles. But the thought of winning 2 quid from Brian, who in his time has won a bit more from me than I him, kept my thoughts of further thievery in check! I knew my spirit was weakening. Fortunately we left soon afterwards….

  

We finally left the reception after midnight and made our way along the ten city blocks back to the hotel where Ginny and my twin sister shared a joining room with Brian and meself.

 

Ginny walked calmly with us, unaware of the picaresque devils that were us, keeping pace beside her. As were making our way through a short cut in a wooded Provincial park, we stopped in a small isolated glen and circled around Ginny. Sis was grinning as she asked poor unawares Ginny; So luv, whatever did happen to your necklace? Gin’s reaction was absolutely, rewardingly priceless.

  

Ginny, a relatively innocent soul, who is prone to believing most anything told to her, started, and her hand went to her throat, feeling about fruitlessly, as her rustling glossy gown and remaining jewels glistened dark in the full moons’ light.

 

“M’ necklace, why it’s gone? , where did it go!, she pleaded helplessly, her thought patterns and speech a little slurred by her rather intoxicated condition. We than got into it, playing dumb along with her, and tried to figure out the “mystery” I said the last time I saw it was when that seedy bloke cut in, and I ran my hand up her back, feeling the shivers going down her spine, did the blighter touch you like that, then luv. No she said, then thought hard, no she repeated, he couldn’t have, he was a proper gentleman, and it was only rhinestone, like your sister said.

 

I don’t know said Brian, never trust any gent who doesn’t wear a tie to fancy dress! He had to ‘ave been up to no good, that one!

 

My sister then commented that the bloke may have not noticed no difference, and she held out her own necklace, I’m glad he didn’t ask me to dance.

 

No, Ginny shook her head, her long earrings flickering a frenzied fire out from her let down ginger hair, no one could have lifted them like that, I’d have felt it….I’m sure of that…!

  

She looked desperately around at us, then seeing the look on upon our faces, Ginny froze with the realization that we had all been up to something, and, then a smile of relief showed up on her pretty face, as I held up her necklace, sparkling in front of her eyes. A sly look of understanding that we had been up to something crept into those dazzling green eyes , as she told us now to spill it out.

  

We explained the whole tale as Sis helped Ginny place her necklace back on. Ginny, with her usual good humor, said she had never noticed a thing, and it probably was a good thing we weren’t real thieves, because if her necklace had been diamonds, it would have been worth a small fortune. And shame on us for having her believe it was that poor blighter in the red shirt.

  

We wouldn’t’ make very good thieves I agreed we drink too much. She just smiled, a curious looking gleam creeping up into those witchy green eyes of hers. Let’s get going before we meet a real thief then, urged my sister, all this talk about someone thinking our jewels are real is giving me the right chills.

  

Our drunken little group then merrily, if not a little more guardedly, made our way home..

 

This next bit is my favorite.

 

We rode the elevator up to the boy’s room, as the girls called our room, where we drank beer, danced to music and talked on a bit about the reception. The girls stayed in dress and I happily soaked up the pretty picture the pair of admirably attractive girls presented with their long sheets of straight hair now just hanging down, their “diamonds” sparkling and all other assorted frills enticing.

 

About two hours later found Brian and myself sitting on the couch in kind of a hazy stupor while holding onto our beers. Ginny and my sister were standing directly in front of us, holding beers of their own and giggling over some girlish nonsense, the hypnotic swaying of their longish glossy black satin gowns slowly putting me to sleep.

  

Brain, draining his beer, got up to get another, bumping against my sister and playfully grabbed a handful. My sister started giggling at him as he sauntered off grinning, turning her figure so the brooch at the centre of her gowns’ waistline almost wacked me on the nose. Half asleep I reached over and gingerly lifted it up.

 

Looking up at the girls I saw that neither was paying no never mind towards me. Ginny, however, laid a hand on my twins shoulder, drawing her close so she could whisper some girlish secret about Brian. I continued on, and was able to undo the brooch, and slip it carefully off without notice. I slipped her jewel into my pocket; waiting until I could think ,now that I did the deed, just hpw I would tease her about it.

  

Brian stopped on the way back and reset the music, a slow song came up. Sis went to him, and the pair started dancing. I rose and taking Ginny by the hand, followed suit, leading her to the bit of a dance floor we had cleared. She was again, pure heaven in my arms and my hands slipped liberally up and down her smooth, slinky gowned figure.

 

Ginny smiled! I knew that smile, and realized that something was going on behind her pretty green eyes.

 

She flicked back her sheet of ginger hair, and leaned against me. I saw you, she huskily whispered, her voice putting a tickle in my ear. Saw me I asked, not getting it. I saw you lift that dame’s diamond brooch, Ginny said in a sultry voice as she looked over towards where my sister was dancing, (no, she was actually swooning), in Brian’s arms.

 

Now mate, you see that one over there, in the black dancing with the bearded gent? I looked over, as she continues, look at ‘er necklace, I have a fancy for diamonds, and if you don’t want me to call security, I suggest you get hers for me, darling, she said with conspiracy like tones, acting like she was some old time actress in a movie. I loved the devilishness of Ginny’s role play idea and it did not take much to toss me whole heart and soul into the assignment!.

  

Check out the Sonia clip shortcut at the end of my tale( recommend viewing)

  

Now wide awake, I got fully into Ginny’s game. As we continued dancing, my eyes watched Brian and me sister, taking careful inventory of all the “dames” sparkling jewelry. Sis turned, and caught my eyes looking her over, she blushed, and not knowing what was really going through my mind, smiled at me. As I smiled back, my eyes drinking her fetchingly attired figure up!

 

I was imagining that all of her ample collection of rhinestones so prettily positioned on her figure, were real diamonds. And that I was an actual thief plotting to nick her lovely sparklers. I looked into Ginny’s eyes. You have a deal miss, I whispered, making my voice deep and throaty, as I imagined meself as some, albeit drunk, Humphrey Bogart type character in some grittingly shadowy film noir style black and white movie.

  

The song ended and a second, even slower one began playing. Brian and my sister were still locked into each other’s arms, but I felt that the time to make my move was now. Throwing Ginny a wink, I went over and cut in, Brian looked drunkenly at me like “whattsup chap,” but Ginny was right behind and swirled him conveniently away before he could properly react.

  

And as I took the pretty, wide eyed with innocence looking “dame” into my arms I found it exciting that she was oblivious to my nefarious intentions. Naïvely unaware, that in indifference to her own words earlier, someone did now want to nick the jewelry which was quite so merrily dangling from her svelte figure. Now, don’t forget at this point to me she was no longer my sister, but a sweet innocent victim weighted down with desirable loot. And I? I was nothing more than a suave thief deliciously hungering after her bright baubles, albeit, a slightly inebriated suave thief!

  

I bided my time, appearing to look into my twins/victims half opened eyes ( she was really lit by this time, as we all were) , my mind was working overtime on how the best approach to reach my objective. Then it came to me, quite clearly, and so Bob became my uncle, and I began his suggested approach…. And if I would have dared say so at the time, I executed my bit of jewel thievery like a pro….That is if there are actually pros at this sort of thing1?

  

Employing the same method that I remembered the thief using in the Gilligan’s Island episode to remove his dance partners necklace, I began to compliment my twin on how devastating her and Ginny looked both looked that evening (no lies), slowly moving my one hand up the slick material of the gown covering her back as I whispered my praise. Easily I reached the dangling part of her hook and eye necklace with its’ glittering rows of “diamonds”. She ate it up, blushing and closing her eyes, naively cooperating by tilting her head down, exposing even more of the back of her throat, and laying bare the chain of her “diamond” necklace. As she fawned over my words of (not false) praise, I subtly lifted up the chain of her necklace, whilst my free hand held her ever so her tightly around the waist. For the second time that evening I could feel the heat emanating from my victims squirming figure. As well as again feeling me own heart pounding a storm.

  

I gently used my free left hands’ fingers to unhooked the clasp, and let the necklace fall over her one shoulder. Sis never felt it hanging, or noticed it as I peeled it off her chest (whisking along her gown smooth as silk) and pulled it over her gown’s satin shoulder till it slipped sparkling down behind her. I held it hanging loose behind her back for a few turns, still pouring out the compliments, until I pocketed it, letting it join her purloined brooch.

  

Meanwhile, Brian had left Ginny to go to the loo, and I saw Ginny, who had been eagerly watching all of it, give me a wink. Then she turned and stole out the apartment door, her longish slinking gown slipping through behind her as she closed the door. I made ready to make some excuse to break away from my sister and head after her with my loot.

  

But just as I opened my mouth to make that excuse , Sis pulled her arms behind me head, and laid her own head back on my shoulder and closed her tired eyes, getting into the music’s deep beat. One of her longish rhinestone earrings just hung there sparkling, mocking me to touch it, and like Gingers diamonds, I saw them as quite ripe for the picking.

  

With the prize within my grasp, I momentarily forgot about the departing Ginny, and I made my move. I found meself trembling a bit, as I reached up and placed my hands gently alongside her ear, her eyes still shut, my victim smiled prettily. The rest of the manoeuvre was surprisingly easy, as I glided my fingers down and slipped it off the earring in one effortless motion. The sparkling beauty came away from her sweaty ear as smoothly as an ice cube moves along a steaming hot grill ( I actually did have a thought like that). I held it in one fist for a bit, watching my victim, she had not felt so much as a tickle on her earlobe, as I had removed her earring. Relishing in my success, I looked at it dangling and shimmering in my hand behind her back. Then, as I secured her diamonds away, I thought about trying for the other. But thought better of it, knowing Ginny was just waiting on the other side of the door.

  

I finished out the dance, taking my sisters hand with its dazzling bracelet and rings, and admired them while I kissed it, the “Dames” Bracelet tantalizing slipped down along her wrist and brushed against me knuckles. At that moment, we both heard the toilet flushing, and my twin looked over her shoulder laughing. As she did do, I saw an opportunity opening up and taking her dangling diamonded bracelet in me fingers, tugged it down ever so discreetly. Surprisingly the clasp popped opened ( right about being flimsy luv, I silently agreed with my twin’s earlier statement)!

  

I daringly pulled it free from around her wrist and slipped it in me pocket just as she turned back around to face her dance partner. I could see in her eyes that she had not felt nor noticed anything outta place. I’d better be off after Ginny I said, clearing me throat, and then , with no fanfare, let go of her hand. It dropped to her side, rings flashing, purloined bracelet gone from where it had, with cheeky regality, had been holding shimmering court all evening.

 

Nice doing business with you I said, bemused as I watched the puzzlement creep into her half awake eyes while I backed away from her towards the door.

 

And that chaps, is how I left her. With my grainy black and white movie still playing out in my mind. She just was standing there puzzled, a wealthy lady in fancy dress, unknowingly watching the dashing stranger leave with the “fortune” in jewels she thought she still was wearing. She innocently watched me as I left the room with her “diamonds” in my scoundrel’s possession!

  

However, it was my turn to look puzzled as I went out, Ginny was nowhere to be seen! I quickly looked around, then headed to the elevator and rode down in it, alone at this early morning hour, to the lobby.

  

I arrived there, and at first the lobby appeared deserted, cept for a lonely desk clerk with her head buried in a novel. Then breathed a sigh of relief, there, around a corner, Ginny stood talking to some older lady wearing a garish grey pant suit, with this blue tinted helmet of curly hair covered by a large silk head scarf, and carrying an overlarge purse. I suddenly realized that now my anxiety had gone, another urge had taken its place. Ginny looked up, and smiles happily at me, and I smiled back, indicated that I had to go for a minute, and headed meself to the loo.

  

Coming out after I finished, I saw that the lobby was actually now really empty, not even the desk clerk was visible. Thinking Ginny may have gone back upstairs, I first went to the hotels double doors to chance a look outside onto the street below. I just caught sight of a wisp of black gown moving just out of sight past the stairs, on the now smoggy sidewalk below.

  

I headed out, and there was Ginny walking with the Blue haired stranger, they appeared to be looking for something. I started wondering if Ginny had invited this stranger to go on out walk with us? But no, apparently the blue haired lady in the unfortunate grey pantsuit had discovered her keys were missing, and thought they had dropped somewhere after getting out of a taxi just around the corner. And Ginny, bless her kind heated soul, had offered to help the distressed lady look for them.

  

As Ginny was telling me all this after I had caught up, the blue haired older lady , her cheerful face now stern, had started rummaging in her large shoulder bag, I sneaked a peek over her shoulder and saw that is contained quite an amazing assortment of items , ( no wonder it had to be so big). Suddenly she uttered an exclamation, found them she said, triumphantly pulling out an interesting assortment of skeleton type keys on a small ring. Happily smiling at Ginny, she pulled her into an enveloping hug for her efforts, before quickly leaving, but not without first giving me a sidelong glance with a disapproving look from her now pursed–lipped mouth as she passed. But I at the time put it down as her just being stressed out from believing she had misplaced her keys.

  

I am so glad she found her keys remarked Ginny, taking up me hand. That lady was ever so nice, she wanted to know where I had been dressed up all pretty like I am, and when I told her about the wedding, she said it must have been lovely. Then she admired me dress, and rhinestones. Then asked if me ruby ring was a gift from the bride. Liked your ring huh, I asked Ginny, my mind clearing up a little. Oh yes she said, lifted my hand, looked at it an everything!

Then the poor dear missed her keys, and asked if I could be a dear and help her look outside, and that was that until you showed up. (Looking outside for keys at 2:30 in the morning? I thought to myself) As I said ti Ginny, it is a pretty ring, and taking her arm, we started down the block together.

  

My mind, now somewhat attuned to the reality of things, went back to the blue haired lady and her large shoulder bag. Among some of various items I had seen had been a penknife, a length of old silk sash cord, small bundle of lacy handkerchiefs, and a small torch! Then add in the odd assortment of keys on her “misplaced” keyring, and put it all together, it all began to sum up to a new, slightly more sinister meaning of her intentions, in my take on the episode.

  

As we walked, I said nothing in reply to the happily chirping, richly attired girl walking beside me , as for the first time, and not the last, I wondered if something had been afoot with the Blue Haired, pursed mouthed lady that Ginny had seen as a kind older lady needed help, like the bird with a broken wing she had tried to help a few days past( a blue jay!). So was the blue haired lady, with the silk scarf and wearing a rather unisexual pantsuit, acting out the part of a “blue jay”, using her “broken wing” as a ruse to lure my Ginny safely away for her own nefarious reasons?

  

Surreptitiously, I carefully checked over Ginny from head to heeled toes as we walked, to make sure nothing was amiss. Her rhinestones were still safely all in their place, but I did not see the ruby ring, and me heart went still, and chills prickled down my spine! Bullocks! I swore under my breath, that pucker faced tart walked away with it. Ginny, I said, a little choked, she swirled facing me, her green eyes questioning, as she raised her hand to her perked breasts, and there it was, the small, but rather pricey, ruby ring she so loved wearing, the glittery darling had turned around on her finger so it was hidden from my view

.

 

I breathed a heavy sigh of relief, I just wanted to say how lovely you looked this evening my lass, I said saving myself. She smiled winningly, giving me a deep hug for my words. We walked on, as my beating heart slowed down, I convinced myself that maybe the incident of lost keys had all been harmless, and I was just being a worry-wort. I apologized silently for what I had called the fashion challenged blue haired lady in my mind. But I was still beginning to feel like ever a fool to have let Ginny, handsomely decked out as she was, out of my sight at this early hour of the morning.

  

I opened my mind and let all such thoughts flee my head, for the world was now ours, as we made our journey together, hand in hand. We ended up making a very long stroll in the Provincial Park, and reentering the same isolated, secret glen we had been in earlier, proceeded to continue acting out the role playing game we had started at the apartment.

  

Ginny went to the middle of the clearing to wait, pretending she was smoking, like a moll from a gangster movie. I circled and watched her sparkling figure, black in the glens shadows, move about a bit.

  

And as I did, my thoughts wondered a bit, and I remember reflecting ( not for the first time) how in the older black n whites, the heroine, or villainous, is always wearing gowns, elegant long gloves, and jeweled to the sparkling hilt. Then she walks alone to and then waits in some dark alley or other desolate spot for her contact, or hero to show up, much like Ginny was acting out now. So how is it that those fancy dressed and well jeweled unescorted dames, always manage to get to those spots, and are able to wait around in them alone, in those movies, and nary ever meet a ruffian who strips them of those pricy looking sparklers they are flaunting about? Just saying!

  

Saying a brief prayer that my thoughts were not tempting a fate of that type to occur to us now that I had been thinking it, I came out of the shadows and approached Ginny. Keeping my left hand in my pocket like I was carrying a heater. Hey sister, I said, been waiting long? No, she whispered, did you get the goods. Hot as ice I said proudly, producing the necklace and earring I had liberated from the dancing “dame”.

  

As I showed Ginny my take from “the dame”, she squealing over the fact I was able to take one of her diamond earrings, bonus she chanted. Playing a thief’s role, I kept mum about the bracelet, no honour amongst thieves I thought mischievously .

We laughed over what the “dames” reaction would be when the jewels were discovered missing. As we snickered, Ginny caught my eyes and then we got off on a tangent about jewel thieves in love, and ended up reenacting the “lure” scene from the movie ‘To Catch a Thief” ending up producing fireworks of our own making as Ginny lost all her jewels as well as her “innocence”.. We then made our way back home, as the cock crows, receiving a few odd looks from the occasional early morning lorry drivers.

  

And above all, I still remember feeling pretty bloody cocky as Ginny and I had sauntered our way to the park. And why not, I ask? Cause not only did I get to stroll about with the most captivating ginger haired lass, sparkling in fancy dress around, But I also had totally scored a hat trick in the jewelry lifting department, collecting two Quid to boot, and that’s what life is all about for us boys, winning the game, taint it?

 

So ends my story

Please leave a comment at the end of the story if you rather liked the telling..

  

The Sonia clip shortcut ( recommend viewing)

youtu.be/HAZdjhNVjxk

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Please consider leaving a comment at the end of the story if you rather liked the telling..

 

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The Avengers is a spy-fi British television series created in the 1960s. The Avengers initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant John Steed (Patrick Macnee). Hendry left after the first series and Steed became the main character, partnered with a succession of assistants. Steed's most famous assistants were intelligent, stylish and assertive women: Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), and later Tara King (Linda Thorson). Later episodes increasingly incorporated elements of science fiction and fantasy, parody and British eccentricity. The Avengers ran from 1961 until 1969, screening as one hour episodes its entire run.

 

The pilot episode, "Hot Snow", aired on 7 January 1961.

The final episode, "Bizarre", aired on 21 May 1969.

 

The Avengers was produced by ABC Television, a contractor within the ITV network. After a merger in July 1968 ABC Television became Thames Television, which continued production of the series although it was still broadcast under the ABC name. By 1969 The Avengers was shown in more than 90 countries. ITV produced a sequel series The New Avengers (1976–1977) with Patrick Macnee returning as John Steed, and two new partners.

 

In 2007 The Avengers was ranked #20 on TV Guide's Top Cult Shows Ever

 

1961: With Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry)

 

The Avengers began in the episode Hot Snow, with medical doctor, Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry), investigating the murder of his fiancée and office receptionist Peggy by a drug ring. A stranger named John Steed, who was investigating the ring, appeared and together they set out to avenge her death in the first two episodes. Afterwards, Steed asked Keel to partner him as needed to solve crimes.

 

The Avengers followed Hendry's Police Surgeon, in which he played police surgeon Geoffrey Brent.[3] While Police Surgeon did not last long, viewers praised Hendry. Hendry was considered the star of the new series, receiving top billing over Macnee, and Steed did not appear in two episodes.

 

As the series progressed, Steed's importance increased, and he carried the final episode solo. While Steed and Keel used wit while discussing crimes and dangers, the series also depicted the interplay—and often tension—between Keel's idealism and Steed's professionalism. As seen in one of the two surviving episodes from the first series, "The Frighteners", Steed also had helpers among the population who provided information, similar to the "Baker Street Irregulars" of Sherlock Holmes.

 

The other regular in the first series was Carol Wilson (Ingrid Hafner), the nurse and receptionist who replaced the slain Peggy. Carol assisted Keel and Steed in cases, without being part of Steed's inner circle. Hafner had played opposite Hendry as a nurse in Police Surgeon.[3]

 

The series was shot on 405-line videotape using a multicamera setup. There was little provision for editing and virtually no location footage (although the very first shot of the first episode consisted of location footage). As was standard practice at the time, videotapes of early episodes of The Avengers were reused. Of the first series, two complete episodes still exist, as 16 mm film telerecordings. One of the episodes remaining does not feature Steed. The first 15 minutes of the first episode also exists as a telerecording; the extant footage ends at the conclusion of the first act, prior to the introduction of John Steed.

 

The missing television episodes are currently being re-created for audio by Big Finish Productions under the title of The Avengers - The Lost Episodes[4] and star Julian Wadham as Steed, Anthony Howell as Dr. Keel and Lucy Briggs-Owen as Carol Wilson.

 

1962–64: With Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), Venus Smith (Julie Stevens) and Dr Martin King (Jon Rollason)

  

Patrick Macnee as John Steed and Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale

Production of the first series was cut short by a strike. By the time production could begin on the second series, Hendry had quit to pursue a film career. Macnee was promoted to star and Steed became the focus of the series, initially working with a rotation of three different partners. Dr Martin King (Jon Rollason), a thinly disguised rewriting of Keel, saw action in only three episodes produced from scripts written for the first series. King was intended to be a transitional character between Keel and Steed's two new female partners, but while the Dr. King episodes were shot first, they were shown out of production order in the middle of the season. The character was thereafter quickly and quietly dropped.

 

Nightclub singer Venus Smith (Julie Stevens) appeared in six episodes. She was a complete "amateur", meaning that she did not have any professional crime-fighting skills as did the two doctors. She was excited to be participating in a "spy" adventure alongside secret agent Steed (although at least one episode—"The Removal Men"—indicates she is not always enthusiastic). Nonetheless, she appears to be attracted to him and their relationship appears similar to that later displayed between Steed and Tara King. Her episodes featured musical interludes showcasing her singing performances. The character of Venus underwent some revision during her run, adopting more youthful demeanour and dress.

 

The first episode broadcast in the second series had introduced the partner who would change the show into the format for which it is most remembered. Honor Blackman played Dr Cathy Gale, a self-assured, quick-witted anthropologist who was skilled in judo and had a passion for wearing leather clothes.[5] Widowed during the Mau Mau years in Kenya, she was the "talented amateur" who saw her aid to Steed's cases as a service to her nation. Gale was said to have been born 5 October 1930 at midnight, and was raised in Africa. Gale was early-to-mid 30s during her tenure, in contrast to female characters in similar series who tended to be younger.

 

Gale was unlike any female character seen before on British TV and became a household name. Reportedly, part of her charm came from the fact that her earliest appearances were episodes in which dialogue written for Keel was simply transferred to her. Said series script writer Dennis Spooner "there's the famous story of how Honor Blackman played Ian Hendry's part, which is why they stuck her in leather and such—it was so much cheaper than changing the lines!"[6]

 

Venus Smith did not return for the third series and Cathy Gale became Steed's only regular partner. The series established a level of sexual tension between Steed and Gale, but the writers were not allowed to go beyond flirting and innuendo. Despite this the relationship between Steed and Gale was progressive for 1962–63. In "The Golden Eggs" it is revealed that Gale lived in Steed's flat; her rent according to Steed was to keep the refrigerator well-stocked and to cook for him (she appears to do neither). However, this was said to be a temporary arrangement while Gale looked for a new home, and Steed was sleeping at a hotel.

 

During the first series there were hints Steed worked for a branch of British Intelligence, and this was expanded in the second series. Steed initially received orders from different superiors, including someone referred to as "Charles", and "One-Ten" (Douglas Muir). By the third series the delivery of Steed's orders was not depicted on screen or explained. In "The Nutshell" the secret organisation to which Steed belongs is shown, and it is Gale's first visit to their HQ.

 

Small references to Steed's background were occasionally made. In series three's "Death of a Batman" it was said that Steed was with I Corps in World War II, and in Munich in 1945. In series four episode "The Hour That Never Was" Steed goes to a reunion of his RAF regiment.

 

A film version of the series was in its initial planning stages by late 1963 after series three was completed. An early story proposal paired Steed and Gale with a male and female duo of American agents, to make the movie appeal to the American market. Before the project could gain momentum Blackman was cast opposite Sean Connery in Goldfinger, requiring her to leave the series.

 

Series transformation

 

During the Gale era, Steed was transformed from a rugged trenchcoat-wearing agent into the stereotypical English gentleman (he had first donned bowler and carried his distinctive umbrella part way through the first season as 'The Frighteners' depicts), complete with Savile Row suit, bowler hat and umbrella with clothes later designed by Pierre Cardin. (The bowler and umbrella were soon changed to be full of tricks, including a sword hidden within the umbrella handle and a steel plate concealed in the hat.) These items were referred to in the French, German and Polish titles of the series, Chapeau melon et bottes de cuir ("Bowler hat and leather boots"), Mit Schirm, Charme und Melone ("With Umbrella, Charm and Bowler Hat") and Rewolwer i melonik ("A Revolver and a Bowler Hat"), respectively. With his impeccable manners, old world sophistication, and vintage automobiles, Steed came to represent the traditional Englishman of an earlier era.

 

By contrast his partners were youthful, forward-looking, and always dressed in the latest mod fashions. Gale's innovative leather outfits suited her many athletic fight scenes. Honor Blackman became a star in Britain with her black leather outfits and boots (nicknamed "kinky boots") and her judo-based fighting style. Macnee and Blackman even released a novelty song called "Kinky Boots". Some of the clothes seen in The Avengers were designed at the studio of John Sutcliffe who published the AtomAge fetish magazine.

 

Series script writer Dennis Spooner said that the series would frequently feature Steed visiting busy public places such as the main airport in London, without anyone else present in the scene. "'Can't you afford extras?' they'd ask. Well it wasn't like that; it's just that Steed had to be alone to be accepted. Put him in a crowd and he sticks out like a sore thumb! Let's face it, with normal people he's weird. The trick to making him acceptable is never to show him in a normal world, just fighting villains who are odder than he is!"[6]

 

1965–68: With Emma Peel (Diana Rigg)

 

In 1965 the show was sold to United States network, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). The Avengers became one of the first British series to be aired on prime time U.S. television. The ABC network paid the then-unheard of sum of $2 million for the first 26 episodes. The average budget for each episode was reportedly £56,000, high for the British industry. The fourth series aired in the U.S. from March to December 1966.

 

Previously The Avengers had been shot on 405-line videotape using a multicamera setup, with very little provision for editing and virtually no location footage. The U.S. deal meant that the producers could afford to start shooting the series on 35mm film. The use of film rather than videotape was essential, as British 405-line video was technically incompatible with the U.S. NTSC videotape format. Filmed productions were standard on U.S. prime time television at that time. The Avengers continued to be produced in black and white.

 

The transfer to film meant that episodes would be shot using the single camera setup, giving the production greater flexibility. The use of film production and the single camera production style allowed more sophisticated visuals and camera angles and more outdoor location shots, all of which greatly improved the look of the series. As was standard on British television filmed production through the 1960s, all location work on series four was shot mute with the soundtrack created in post production. Dialogue scenes were filmed in the studio, leading to some jumps between location and studio footage.

     

Diana Rigg as Mrs Emma Peel

New female partner Mrs Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) debuted in this series, in October 1965. The name of the character derived from a comment by writers, during development, that they wanted a character with "man appeal". In an early attempt to incorporate this concept into the character's name, she was called "Samantha Peel", shortened to the awkward "Mantha Peel".[7] Eventually the writers began referring to the idea by the verbal shorthand, "M. Appeal",[8] which gave rise to the character's ultimate name. Emma Peel, whose husband went missing while flying over the Amazon, retained the self-assuredness of Gale, combined with superior fighting skills, intelligence, and a contemporary fashion sense.

 

After more than 60 actresses had been auditioned, the first choice to play the role was Elizabeth Shepherd. However, after filming one and a half episodes (the pilot; 'The Town of No Return' and part of 'The Murder Market'), Shepherd was released. Her on-screen personality was deemed less interesting than that of Blackman's Gale and it was decided she was not right for the role. Another 20 actresses were auditioned before the show's casting director suggested that producers Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell check out a televised drama featuring the relatively unknown Rigg (she had earlier guested in an episode of the TV show; 'The Sentimental Agent' that Clemens had written). Her screen test with Macnee showed that the two immediately worked well together, and a new era in Avengers history began.

 

A prologue was added to the beginning of all the fourth series episodes for the American transmissions. This was to clarify some initial confusion audiences had regarding the characters and their mission. In the opener, a waiter holding a champagne bottle falls dead onto a human-sized chessboard; a dagger protruding from a target on his back. Steed and Mrs. Peel (dressed in her trademark leather catsuit) walk up to the body as the voice over explains: "Extraordinary crimes against the people, and the state, have to be avenged by agents extraordinary. Two such people are John Steed, top professional, and his partner Emma Peel, talented amateur. Otherwise known as The Avengers." During this voice over, Steed pours two drinks from the wine bottle and Mrs Peel replaces her gun in her boot. They clink glasses and depart together. Fade to black and then the opening titles proper begin.

     

Film location plate presented by ABC TV to the Stapleford Miniature Railway, which is still in use today

In contrast to the Gale episodes, there was a lighter, comic touch in Steed and Peel's interactions with each other and their reactions to other characters and situations. Earlier series had a harder tone, with the Gale era including some quite serious espionage dramas. This almost completely disappeared as Steed and Peel visibly enjoyed topping each other's witticisms. The layer of conflict with Gale – who on occasion openly resented being used by Steed, often without her permission – was absent from Steed's interaction with Peel. Also the sexual tension between Steed and Gale was not present with Peel. In both cases, the exact relationship between the partners was left ambiguous, although they seemed to have carte blanche to visit each other's homes whenever they pleased and it was not uncommon for scenes to suggest Steed had spent the night at Gale's or Peel's home, or vice-versa. Although nothing "improper" was displayed, the obviously much closer chemistry between Steed and Peel constantly suggests intimacy between the two.

 

Science fiction fantasy elements (a style later known as Spy-fi) emerged in stories. The duo encountered killer robots ("The Cybernauts") and giant alien carnivorous plants ("The Man-Eater of Surrey Green").

 

In her fourth episode, "Death at Bargain Prices", Mrs Peel takes an undercover job at a department store. Her uniform for promoting space-age toys is an elaborate leather catsuit plus silver boots, sash, and welder's gloves. The suit minus the silver accessories became her signature outfit, which she wore primarily for fight scenes, in early episodes, and in the titles. There was a fetishistic undercurrent in some episodes. In "A Touch of Brimstone" Mrs Peel dressed in a dominatrix outfit of corset, laced boots and spiked collar to become the "Queen of Sin".

 

Peel's avant-garde fashions, featuring bold accents and high-contrast geometric patterns, emphasized her youthful, contemporary personality. She represented the modern England of the Sixties – just as Steed, with his vintage style and mannerisms, personified Edwardian era nostalgia. According to Macnee in his book The Avengers and Me, Rigg disliked wearing leather and insisted on a new line of fabric athletic wear for the fifth series. Alun Hughes, who had designed clothing for Diana Rigg's personal wardrobe, was suggested by the actress to design Emma Peel's "softer" new wardrobe. Pierre Cardin was brought in to design a new wardrobe for Macnee. In America, TV Guide ran a four-page photospread on Rigg's new "Emmapeeler" outfits (10–16 June 1967). Eight tight-fitting jumpsuits in a variety of bright colors were created using the stretch fabric crimplene.

 

Another memorable feature of the show from this point onwards was its automobiles. Steed's signature cars were vintage 1926–1928 Bentley racing or town cars, including Blower Bentleys and Bentley Speed Sixes (although, uniquely, in "The Thirteenth Hole" he drives a Vauxhall 30/98), while Peel drove a sporty Lotus Elan convertible which, like her clothes, emphasized her independence and vitality. During the first Peel series, each episode ended with a short, comedic scene of the duo leaving the scene of their most recent adventure in some unusual vehicle.

 

For this series Diana Rigg's stunt double was stuntman Billy Westley, Patrick Macnee's stunt double was Peter Clay.

 

Fifth series

 

After one filmed series (of 26 episodes) in black and white, The Avengers began filming in colour for the fifth series in 1966. It was three years before Britain's ITV network began full colour broadcasting.

 

This series was broadcast in the U.S. from January to May 1967. The American prologue of the previous series was rejigged for the colour episodes. It opened with the caption The Avengers In Color (required by ABC for colour series at that time). This was followed by Steed unwrapping the foil from a champagne bottle and Peel shooting the cork away. (Unlike the "chessboard" opening of the previous series, this new prologue was also included in UK broadcasts of the series.)

 

The first 16 episodes of the fifth series begin with Peel receiving a call-to-duty message from Steed: "Mrs Peel, we're needed." Peel was conducting her normal activities when she unexpectedly received a message on a calling card or within a delivered gift, at which point Steed suddenly appeared (usually in her apartment). The messages were delivered by Steed in increasingly bizarre ways as the series progressed: in a newspaper Peel had just bought, or on traffic lights while she was out driving. On one occasion Steed appeared on her television set, interrupting an old science-fiction movie (actually clips from their Year Four episode "The Cybernauts") to call her to work. Another way Steed contacted her was in the beginning of episode 13, "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Station" when she enters her flat and sees a Meccano Percy the Small Engine going around a circular track with a note on one of the train cars that says "Mrs. Peel" in bold letters, she then walks over to Steed who says "you're needed". At the start of "The Hidden Tiger" Peel is redecorating her apartment (wearing a jumpsuit and drinking champagne); she peels off a strip of wallpaper, revealing the words "Mrs Peel" painted on the wall beneath. She turns to see Steed in the apartment removing another strip of wallpaper, revealing "We're needed" painted underneath on another wall. In another instance Emma enters Steed's flat to find he has just fallen down the stairs, and he painfully gasps, "Mrs Peel, you're needed." Often the episode's tag scene returned to the situation of the "Mrs Peel, we're needed" scene. "The Hidden Tiger" returns to the partially redecorated apartment where Steed begins painting a love heart and arrow and the initials of two people on the wall, but paints over the initials when Peel sees his graffito. In "The Superlative Seven" the call to duty and the tag both involve a duck shooting situation where unexpected items fall from the sky after shots are fired.

 

The series also introduced a comic tag line caption to the episode title, using the format of "Steed [does this], Emma [does that]." For example "The Joker" had the opening caption: "Steed trumps an ace, Emma plays a lone hand".('The Joker' was to a large extent a re-write colour episode of the earlier Cathy Gale b/w era story; 'Don't Look Behind You' as were a few other later episodes re-writes in colour of b/w era tales.)

 

The "Mrs Peel, we're needed" scenes and the alternate tag lines were dropped after the first 16 episodes, after a break in production, for financial reasons. They were deemed by the U.K. networks as disposable if The Avengers was to return to ITV screens. (Dave Rogers' book The Avengers Anew lists a set for every Steed/Peel episode except "The Forget-Me-Knot".)

 

Stories were increasingly characterised by a futuristic, science fiction bent, with mad scientists and their creations wreaking havoc. The duo dealt with being shrunk to doll size ("Mission... Highly Improbable"), pet cats being electrically altered into ferocious and lethal "miniature tigers" ("The Hidden Tiger"), killer automata ("Return of The Cybernauts"), mind-transferring machines ("Who's Who???"), and invisible foes ("The See-Through Man").

 

The series parodied its American contemporaries with episodes such as "The Girl From AUNTIE", "Mission... Highly Improbable" and "The Winged Avenger" (spoofing The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible and Batman, respectively). The show still carried the basic format – Steed and his associate were charged with solving the problem in the space of a 50-minute episode, thus preserving the safety of 1960s Britain.

 

Comedy was evident in the names and acronyms of the organizations. For example, in "The Living Dead", two rival groups examine reported ghost sightings: FOG (Friends Of Ghosts) and SMOG (Scientific Measurement Of Ghosts). "The Hidden Tiger" features the Philanthropic Union for Rescue, Relief and Recuperation of Cats—PURRR—led by characters named Cheshire, Manx, and Angora.

 

The series also occasionally adopted a metafictional tone, coming close to breaking the fourth wall. In the series 5 episode "Something Nasty in the Nursery" Peel directly references the series' storytelling convention of having potentially helpful sources of information killed off just before she or Steed arrive. This then occurs a few minutes later. In the tag scene for the same episode, Steed and Peel tell viewers – indirectly – to tune in next week.

 

For this series Diana Rigg's stunt double was stuntwoman Cyd Child, though stuntman Peter Elliot doubled for Rigg in a stunt dive in "The Bird Who Knew Too Much".

 

Rigg's departure

 

Rigg was initially unhappy with the way she was treated by the show's producers. During her first series she learned she was being paid less than the camera man. She demanded a raise, to put her more on a par with her co-star, or she would leave the show. The producers gave in, thanks to the show's great popularity in the US.

 

At the end of the fifth series in 1967, Rigg left to pursue other projects. This included following Honor Blackman to play a leading role in a James Bond film, in this case On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

 

Rigg and Macnee have remained lifelong friends.

 

1968–69: With Tara King (Linda Thorson)

  

Thorson and Macnee

When Diana Rigg left the series in October 1967, the British network executives decided that the current series formula, despite resulting in popular success, could not be pursued further. Thus they decided that a "return to realism" was appropriate for the sixth series (1968–69). Brian Clemens and Albert Fennel were replaced by John Bryce, producer of most of the Cathy Gale-era episodes.

 

Bryce had a difficult situation in hand. He had to find a replacement for Diana Rigg and shoot the first seven episodes of the new series, which were supposed to be shipped to America together with the last eight Emma Peel colour episodes.

 

Bryce signed his then-girlfriend, 20-year-old newcomer Linda Thorson, as the new female costar and chose the name "Tara King" for her character. Thorson played the role with more innocence in mind and at heart; and unlike the previous partnerships with Cathy and Emma, the writers allowed subtle hints of romance to blossom between Steed and King. King also differed from Steed's previous partners in that she was a fully fledged (albeit initially inexperienced) agent working for Steed's organisation; his previous partners had all been (in the words of the prologue used for American broadcasts of the first Rigg series) talented amateurs. Bryce wanted Tara to be blonde, so Thorson's brown hair was bleached. However the process badly damaged Thorson's hair, so she had to wear wigs for the first third of her episodes, until her own hair grew back. Her natural brown hair was not seen until the episode "All Done with Mirrors".

 

Production of the first seven episodes of the sixth series began. However financial problems and internal difficulties undermined Bryce's effort. He only managed to complete three episodes: "Invitation to a Killing" (a 90-minute episode introducing Tara King), "The Great, Great Britain Crime" (some of its original footage was reused in the 1969 episode "Homicide and Old Lace") and "Invasion of the Earthmen" (which survived relatively intact except for the scenes in which Tara wears a brown wig.)

 

After a rough cut screening of these episodes to studio executives, Bryce was fired and Clemens and Fennel were summoned back. At their return, a fourth episode called "The Murderous Connection" was in its second day of production. After revising the script, it was renamed as "The Curious Case of the Countless Clues" and production was resumed. Production of the episode "Split!", a leftover script from the Emma Peel colour series, proceeded. Two completely new episodes were also shot: "Get-A-Way", and "Look (Stop Me If You've Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers".

 

Dennis Spooner said of the event that "Brian left The Avengers for about three episodes, someone took over, and when Brian came back, it was in a terrible state. He was faced with doing a rewrite on a film they'd already shot." The episode had a story error where Steed leaves for a destination. The villains then realise this and pursue him – yet arrive there before Steed does. It was fixed by having a character ask Steed 'What took you so long?', to which he replies 'I came the pretty way'. "You can only do that on The Avengers you see. It was just my favourite show to work on."[10]

 

Clemens and Fennel decided to film a new episode to introduce Tara King. This, the third episode filmed for the sixth series, was titled "The Forget-Me-Knot" and bade farewell to Emma Peel and introduced her successor, a trained but inexperienced agent named Tara King. It would be broadcast as the first episode of the sixth series. Tara debuts in dynamic style: when Steed is called to Headquarters, he is attacked and knocked down by trainee agent King who mistakes him for her training partner.

 

No farewell scenes for Emma Peel had been shot when Diana Rigg left the series. Rigg was recalled for "The Forget-Me-Knot", through which Emma acts as Steed's partner as usual. Rigg also filmed a farewell scene for Emma which appeared as the tag scene of the episode. It was explained that Emma's husband, Peter Peel, was found alive and rescued, and she left the British secret service to be with him. Emma visits Steed to say goodbye, and while leaving she passes Tara on the stairway giving the advice that "He likes his tea stirred anti-clockwise." Steed looks out the window as a departing Emma enters the Bentley driven by Peter – who from a distance seems to resemble Steed (and was played by Patrick Macnee, wearing a bowler hat and umbrella).

 

Bryce's original episode introducing Tara, "Invitation to a Killing", was revised as a regular 60-minute episode named "Have Guns Will Haggle". These episodes, together with "Invasion of the Earthmen" and the last eight Peel colour episodes, were shipped to America in February 1968.

 

For this series the government official who gave Steed his orders was depicted on screen. Mother, introduced in "The Forget-Me-Knot", is a man in a wheelchair. The role was taken by Patrick Newell who had played different roles in two earlier episodes, most recently in series five. Mother's headquarters would shift from place to place, including one episode where his complete office was on the top level of a double-decker bus. (Several James Bond films of the 1970s would make use of a similar gimmick for Bond's briefings.)

 

Added later as a regular was Mother's mute Amazonian assistant, Rhonda (Rhonda Parker). There was one appearance by an agency official code-named "Father", a blind older woman played by Iris Russell. (Russell had appeared in the series several times previously in other roles.) In one episode, "Killer", Steed is paired with Lady Diana Forbes Blakeney (Jennifer Croxton) while King is on holiday.

 

Scriptwriter Dennis Spooner later reflected on this series. "When I wrote "Look (Stop Me If You've Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers", that was definitely the last series. They were going to make no more, so in that series we went right over the top; we went really weird, because they knew there weren't going to be any more."[11]

 

Spooner said the series "worked because it became a parody on itself, almost. You can only do that so long." Overall he attributes the success of the show to its light approach. "We spoofed everything, we took Mission: Impossible, Bad Day at Black Rock, High Noon, The Dirty Dozen, The Birds... we took them all. The film buffs used to love it. There were always lines in it that people knew what we were talking about."[11]

 

Vehicle wise, Steed continued to drive vintage green Bentleys in the first seven episodes in production. His regular transport for the remainder of the series were two yellow Rolls-Royce cars. Mother also occasionally appeared in silver Rolls-Royces. Tara King drove an AC 428 and a Lotus Europa. Lady Diana Forbes Blakeney drove an MGC Roadster.

 

The revised series continued to be broadcast in America. The episodes with Linda Thorson as King proved to be highly rated in Europe and the UK. In the United States however, the ABC network that carried the series chose to air it opposite the number one show in the country at the time, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Steed and King could not compete, and the show was cancelled in the US. Without this vital commercial backing, production could not continue in Britain either, and the series ended in May 1969. The final scene of the final episode ("Bizarre") has Steed and King, champagne glasses in hand, accidentally launching themselves into orbit aboard a rocket, as Mother breaks the fourth wall and says to the audience, "They'll be back!" before adding in shock, "They're unchaperoned up there!"

 

************************************************************************************

Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives, 1960

 

BOSNIAN MERMAID - ALEKSANDRA at CONEY ISLAND BEACH, NYC

 

You can see the entire session here:

BOSNIAN MERMAID

 

photo by:

Roman Kajzer @FotoManiacNYC

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HISTORY OF THE BIKINI

 

Time magazine list of top 10 bikinis in popular culture

 

-Micheline Bernardini models the first-Ever Bikini (1946)

-"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (1960)

-Annette Funicello and Beach Party (1960's)

-The belted Bond-girl bikini (1962)

-Sports Illustrated's first Swimsuit Issue (1964)

-Raquel Welch's fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. (1966)

-Phoebe Cates' Bikini in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

-Princess Leia's golden bikini in Return of the Jedi (1983)

-Official uniform of the female Olympic Beach Volleyball team (1996)

-Miss America pageant's bikini debut (1997)

 

The history of the bikini can be traced back to antiquity. Illustrations of Roman women wearing bikini-like garments during competitive athletic events have been found in several locations. The most famous of them is Villa Romana del Casale. French engineer Louis Réard introduced the modern bikini, modeled by Micheline Bernardini, on July 5, 1946, borrowing the name for his design from the Bikini Atoll, where post-war testing on the atomic bomb was happening.

 

French women welcomed the design, but the Catholic Church, some media, and a majority of the public initially thought the design was risque or even scandalous. Contestants in the first Miss World beauty pageant wore them in 1951, but the bikini was then banned from the competition. Actress Bridget Bardot drew attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on the beach during the Cannes Film Festival in 1953. Other actresses, including Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, also gathered press attention when they wore bikinis. During the early 1960's, the design appeared on the cover of Playboy and Sports Illustrated, giving it additional legitimacy. Ursula Andress made a huge impact when she emerged from the surf wearing what is now an iconic bikini in the James Bond movie Dr. No (1962). The deer skin bikini Raquel Welch wore in the film One Million Years B.C. (1966) turned her into an international sex symbol and was described as a definitive look of the 1960's.

 

The bikini gradually grew to gain wide acceptance in Western society. According to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard, the bikini is perhaps the most popular type of female beachwear around the globe because of "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". As he explains, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women." By the early 2000's, bikinis had become a US $ 811 million business annually, and boosted spin-off services like bikini waxing and the sun tanning.

 

IN ANTIQUITY

 

Pre-Roman

 

In the Chalcolithic era around 5600 BC, the mother-goddess of Çatalhöyük, a large ancient settlement in southern Anatolia, was depicted astride two leopards wearing a costume somewhat like a bikini. Two-piece garments worn by women for athletic purposes are depicted on Greek urns and paintings dating back to 1400 BC. Active women of ancient Greece wore a breastband called a mastodeton or an apodesmos, which continued to be used as an undergarment in the Middle Ages. While men in ancient Greece abandoned the perizoma, partly high-cut briefs and partly loincloth, women performers and acrobats continued to wear it.

 

Roman

 

Artwork dating back to the Diocletian period (286-305 AD) in Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily, excavated by Gino Vinicio Gentile in 1950-60, depicts women in garments resembling bikinis in mosaics on the floor. The images of ten women, dubbed the "Bikini Girls", exercising in clothing that would pass as bikinis today, are the most replicated mosaic among the 37 million colored tiles at the site. In the artwork "Coronation of the Winner" done in floor mosaic in the Chamber of the Ten Maidens (Sala delle Dieci Ragazze in Italian) the bikini girls are depicted weight-lifting, discus throwing, and running. Some activities depicted have been described as dancing, as their bodies resemble dancers rather than athletes. Coronation in the title of the mosaic comes from a woman in a toga with a crown in her hand and one of the maidens holding a palm frond. Some academics maintain that the nearby image of Eros, the primordial god of lust, love, and intercourse, was added later, demonstrating the owner's predilections and strengthening the association of the bikini with the erotic. Similar mosaics have been discovered in Tellaro in northern Italy and Patti, another part of Sicily. Prostitution, skimpy clothes and athletic bodies were related in ancient Rome, as images were found of female sex workers exercising with dumbbells/clappers and other equipment wearing costumes similar to the Bikini Girls.

 

Charles Seltman, a fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, curator of the Archaeology Museum there and an editor of The Cambridge Ancient History, illustrated a chapter titled "The new woman" in his book Women in Antiquity with a 1950's model wearing an identical bikini against the 4th-century mosaics from Piazza Armerina as part of a sisterhood between the bikini-clad female athletes of ancient Greco-Romans and modern woman. A photograph of the mosaic was used by Sarah Pomeroy, Professor of Classics at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, in the 1994 British edition of her book Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves to emphasize a similar identification. According to archaeologist George M.A. Hanfmann the bikini girls made the learned observers realize "how modern the ancients were".

 

In ancient Rome, the bikini-style bottom, a wrapped loincloth of cloth or leather, was called a subligar or subligaculum ("little binding underneath"), while a band of cloth or leather to support the breasts was called strophium or mamillare. The exercising bikini girls from Piazza Armenia wear subligaria, scanty briefs made as a dainty version of a man's perizoma, and a strophium band about the breasts, often referred to in literature as just fascia, which can mean any kind of bandage. Observation of artifacts and experiments shows bands had to be wrapped several times around the breasts, largely to flatten them in a style popular with flappers in the 1920's. These Greco-Roman breastbands may have flattened big breasts and padded small breasts to look bigger. Evidence suggests regular use. The "bikini girls" from Piazza Armenia, some of whom sport the braless look of the late 20th century, do not depict any propensity of such popularity in style. One bottom, made of leather, from Roman Britain was displayed at the Museum of London in 1998. There has been no evidence that these bikinis were for swimming or sun-bathing.

 

Finds especially in Pompeii show the so-called Roman goddess Venus wearing a bikini. A statue of the so-called Venus in a bikini was found in a cupboard in the southwest corner in Casa della Venere, others were found in the front hall. A statue of the so-called Venus was recovered from the tablinum of the house of Julia Felix, and another from an atrium in the garden at Via Dell'Abbondanza. Naples National Archaeological Museum, which opened its limited viewing gallery of more explicit exhibits in 2000, also exhibits a "Venus in Bikini". However, the Naples National Archaeological Museum is keen to stress that this statue actually depicts her Greek counterpart Aphrodite as she is about to untie her sandal, a common theme among other works depicting Aphrodite. The museum's exhibits include female statues wearing see-through gold lamé brassiere, basque and knickers. The Kings of Naples discovered these Pompeii artifacts, including the one meter tall, almost unclothed statue of Venus painted in gold leaf with something like a modern bikini. They found them so shocking that for long periods the secret chamber was opened only to "mature persons of secure morals". Even after the doors were opened, only 20 visitors were to be admitted at a time, and children under 12 were not allowed into the new part of the museum without their parents' or a teacher's permission.

 

There are references to bikinis in ancient literature as well. Ovid, the writer ranked alongside Virgil and Horace as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature, suggests the breastband or long strip of cloth wrapped around the breasts and tucked in the ends, is a good place to hide love-letters. Martial, a Latin poet from Hispania who published between AD 86 and 103, satirized a female athlete he named Philaenis, who played ball in a bikini-like garb quite bluntly, making her drink, gorge and vomit in abundance and hinting at her lesbianism. In an epigram on Chione, Martial strangely mentions a sex worker who went to the bathhouse in a bikini, while it was more natural to go unclothed. Reportedly Theodora, the 6th century empress of the Byzantine Empire wore a bikini when she appeared as an actress before she captured the heart of emperor Justinian I.

 

There is evidence of ancient Roman women playing expulsim ludere, an early version of handball, wearing a costume that has been identified as bikinis.

 

Interval

 

Between the classical bikinis and the modern bikini there has been a long interval. Swimming or outdoor bathing were discouraged in the Christian West and there was little need for a bathing or swimming costume till the 18th century. The bathing gown in the 18th century was a loose ankle-length full-sleeve chemise-type gown made of wool or flannel, so that modesty or decency was not threatened. In the first half of 19th century the top became knee-length while an ankle-length drawer was added as a bottom. By the second half of 19th century, in France, the sleeves started to vanish, the bottom became shorter to reach only the knees and the top became hip-length and both became more form fitting. In the 1900's women wore wool dresses on the beach that were made of up to 9 yards (8.2 m) of fabric. That standard of swimwear evolved into the modern bikini in the first of half of the 20th century.

 

Breakthrough

 

In 1907, Australian swimmer and performer Annette Kellerman was arrested on a Boston beach for wearing a form-fitting sleeveless one-piece knitted swimming tights that covered her from neck to toe, a costume she adopted from England, although it became accepted swimsuit attire for women in parts of Europe by 1910. Even in 1943, pictures of the Kellerman swimsuit were produced as evidence of indecency in Esquire v. Walker, Postmaster General. But, Harper's Bazaar wrote in June 1920 (vol. 55, no. 6, p. 138) - "Annette Kellerman Bathing Attire is distinguished by an incomparable, daring beauty of fit that always remains refined." The following year, in June 1921 (vol. 54, no. 2504, p. 101) it wrote that these bathing suits were "famous ... for their perfect fit and exquisite, plastic beauty of line."

 

Female swimming was introduced at the 1912 Summer Olympics. In 1913, inspired by that breakthrough, the designer Carl Jantzen made the first functional two-piece swimwear, a close-fitting one-piece with shorts on the bottom and short sleeves on top. Silent films such as The Water Nymph (1912) saw Mabel Normand in revealing attire, and this was followed by the daringly dressed Sennett Bathing Beauties (1915–1929). The name "swim suit" was coined in 1915 by Jantzen Knitting Mills, a sweater manufacturer who launched a swimwear brand named the Red Diving Girl,. The first annual bathing-suit day at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1916 was a landmark. The swimsuit apron, a design for early swimwear, disappeared by 1918, leaving a tunic covering the shorts.

 

During the 1920's and 1930's, people began to shift from "taking in the water" to "taking in the sun," at bathhouses and spas, and swimsuit designs shifted from functional considerations to incorporate more decorative features. Rayon was used in the 1920's in the manufacture of tight-fitting swimsuits, but its durability, especially when wet, proved problematic, with jersey and silk also sometimes being used. Burlesque and vaudeville performers wore two-piece outfits in the 1920's. The 1929 film "Man with a Movie Camera" shows Russian women wearing early two-piece swimsuits which expose their midriff, and a few who are topless. Films of holidaymakers in Germany in the 1930's show women wearing two-piece suits,

 

Necklines and midriff

 

By the 1930's, necklines plunged at the back, sleeves disappeared and sides were cut away and tightened. With the development of new clothing materials, particularly latex and nylon, through the 1930's swimsuits gradually began hugging the body, with shoulder straps that could be lowered for tanning. Women's swimwear of the 1930's and 1940's incorporated increasing degrees of midriff exposure. Coco Chanel made suntans fashionable, and in 1932 French designer Madeleine Vionnet offered an exposed midriff in an evening gown. They were seen a year later in Gold Diggers of 1933. The Busby Berkeley film Footlight Parade of 1932 showcases aqua-choreography that featured bikinis. Dorothy Lamour's The Hurricane (1937) also showed two-piece bathing suits.

 

The 1934 film, Fashions of 1934 featured chorus girls wearing two-piece outfits which look identical to modern bikinis. In 1934, a National Recreation Association study on the use of leisure time found that swimming, encouraged by the freedom of movement the new swimwear designs provided, was second only to movies in popularity as free time activity out of a list of 94 activities. In 1935 American designer Claire McCardell cut out the side panels of a maillot-style bathing suit, the bikini's forerunner. The 1938 invention of the Telescopic Watersuit in shirred elastic cotton ushered into the end the era of wool. Cotton sun-tops, printed with palm trees, and silk or rayon pajamas, usually with a blouse top, became popular by 1939. Wartime production during World War II required vast amounts of cotton, silk, nylon, wool, leather, and rubber. In 1942 the United States War Production Board issued Regulation L-85, cutting the use of natural fibers in clothing and mandating a 10% reduction in the amount of fabric in women's beachwear. To comply with the regulations, swimsuit manufacturers produced two-piece suits with bare midriffs.

 

Postwar

 

Fabric shortage continued for some time after the end of the war. Two-piece swimsuits without the usual skirt panel and other excess material started appearing in the US when the government ordered a 10% reduction in fabric used in woman's swimwear in 1943 as wartime rationing. By that time, two-piece swimsuits were frequent on American beaches. The July 9, 1945, Life shows women in Paris wearing similar items. Hollywood stars like Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner tried similar swimwear or beachwear. Pin ups of Hayworth and Esther Williams in the costume were widely distributed. The most provocative swimsuit was the 1946 Moonlight Buoy, a bottom and a top of material that weighed only eight ounces. What made the Moonlight Buoy distinctive was a large cork buckle attached to the bottoms, which made it possible to tie the top to the cork buckle and splash around au naturel while keeping both parts of the suit afloat. Life magazine had a photo essay on the Moonlight Buoy and wrote, "The name of the suit, of course, suggests the nocturnal conditions under which nude swimming is most agreeable."

 

American designer Adele Simpson, a Coty American Fashion Critics' Awards winner (1947) and a notable alumna of the New York art school Pratt Institute, who believed clothes must be comfortable and practical, designed a large part of her swimwear line with one-piece suits that were considered fashionable even in early 1980's. This was when Cole of California started marketing revealing prohibition suits and Catalina Swimwear introduced almost bare-back designs. Teen magazines of late 1940's and 1950's featured designs of midriff-baring suits and tops. However, midriff fashion was stated as only for beaches and informal events and considered indecent to be worn in public. Hollywood endorsed the new glamour with films such as Neptune's Daughter (1949) in which Esther Williams wore provocatively named costumes such as "Double Entendre" and "Honey Child". Williams, who also was an Amateur Athletic Union champion in the 100 meter freestyle (1939) and an Olympics swimming finalist (1940), also portrayed Kellerman in the 1952 film Million Dollar Mermaid (titled as The One Piece Bathing Suit in UK).

 

Swimwear of the 1940's, 50's and early 60's followed the silhouette mostly from early 1930's. Keeping in line with the ultra-feminine look dominated by Dior, it evolved into a dress with cinched waists and constructed bust-lines, accessorized with earrings, bracelets, hats, scarves, sunglasses, hand bags and cover-ups. Many of these pre-bikinis had fancy names like Double Entendre, Honey Child (to maximize small bosoms), Shipshape (to minimize large bosoms), Diamond Lil (trimmed with rhinestones and lace), Swimming In Mink (trimmed with fur across the bodice) and Spearfisherman (heavy poplin with a rope belt for carrying a knife), Beau Catcher, Leading Lady, Pretty Foxy, Side Issue, Forecast, and Fabulous Fit. According to Vogue the swimwear had become more of "state of dress, not undress" by mid-1950's.

 

The modern bikini

 

French fashion designer Jacques Heim, who owned a beach shop in the French Riviera resort town of Cannes, introduced a minimalist two-piece design in May 1946 which he named the "Atome," after the smallest known particle of matter. The bottom of his design was just large enough to cover the wearer's navel.

 

At the same time, Louis Réard, a French automotive and mechanical engineer, was running his mother's lingerie business near Les Folies Bergères in Paris. He noticed women on St. Tropez beaches rolling up the edges of their swimsuits to get a better tan and was inspired to produce a more minimal design. He trimmed additional fabric off the bottom of the swimsuit, exposing the wearer's navel for the first time. Réard's string bikini consisted of four triangles made from 30 square inches (194 cm2) of fabric printed with a newspaper pattern.

 

When Réard sought a model to wear his design at his press conference, none of the usual models would wear the suit, so he hired 19 year old nude dancer Micheline Bernardini from the Casino de Paris. He introduced his design to the media and public on July 5, 1946, in Paris at Piscine Molitor, a public pool in Paris. Réard held the press conference five days after the first test of a nuclear device (nicknamed Able) over the Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads. His swimsuit design shocked the press and public because it was the first to reveal the wearer's navel.

 

To promote his new design, Heim hired skywriters to fly above the Mediterranean resort advertising the Atome as "the world's smallest bathing suit." Not to be outdone by Heim, Réard hired his own skywriters three weeks later to fly over the French Riviera advertising his design as "smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world."

 

Heim's design was the first to be worn on the beach, but the name given by Réard stuck with the public. Despite significant social resistance, Réard received more than 50,000 letters from fans. He also initiated a bold ad campaign that told the public a two-piece swimsuit was not a genuine bikini "unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring." According to Kevin Jones, curator and fashion historian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, "Réard was ahead of his time by about 15 to 20 years. Only women in the vanguard, mostly upper-class European women embraced it."

 

Social resistance

 

Bikini sales did not pick up around the world as women stuck to traditional two-piece swimsuits. Réard went back to designing conventional knickers to sell in his mother's shop. According to Kevin Jones, curator and fashion historian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, "Réard was ahead of his time by about 15 to 20 years. Only women in the vanguard, mostly upper-class European women embraced it, just like the upper-class European women who first cast off their corsets after World War I." It was banned in the French Atlantic coastline, Spain, Belgium and Italy, three countries neighboring France, as well as Portugal and Australia, and it was prohibited in some US states, and discouraged in others.

 

In 1951, the first Miss World contest (originally the Festival Bikini Contest), was organized by Eric Morley. When the winner, Kiki Håkansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened to withdraw delegates. Håkansson remains the first and last Miss World to be crowned in her bikini, a crowning that was condemned by Pope Pius XII who declared the swimsuit to be sinful. Bikinis were banned from beauty pageants around the world after the controversy. In 1949 the Los Angeles Times reported that Miss America Bebe Shopp on her visit to Paris said she did not approve the bikini for American girls, though she did not mind French girls wearing them. Actresses in movies like My Favorite Brunette (1947) and the model on a 1948 cover of LIFE were shown in traditional two-piece swimwear, not the bikini.

 

In 1950, Time magazine interviewed American swimsuit mogul Fred Cole, owner of Cole of California, and reported that he had "little but scorn for France's famed Bikinis," because they were designed for "diminutive Gallic women". "French girls have short legs," he explained, "Swimsuits have to be hiked up at the sides to make their legs look longer." Réard himself described it as a two-piece bathing suit which "reveals everything about a girl except for her mother's maiden name." Even Esther Williams commented, "A bikini is a thoughtless act." But, popularity of the charms of Pin-up queen and Hollywood star Williams were to vanish along with pre-bikinis with fancy names over the next few decades. Australian designer Paula Straford introduced the bikini to Gold Coast in 1952. In 1957, Das moderne Mädchen (The Modern Girl) wrote, "It is unthinkable that a decent girl with tact would ever wear such a thing." Eight years later a Munich student was punished to six days cleaning work at an old home because she had strolled across the central Viktualienmarkt square, Munich in a bikini.

 

The Cannes connection

Despite the controversy, some in France admired "naughty girls who decorate our sun-drenched beaches". Brigitte Bardot, photographed wearing similar garments on beaches during the Cannes Film Festival (1953) helped popularize the bikini in Europe in the 1950's and created a market in the US. Photographs of Bardot in a bikini, according to The Guardian, turned Saint-Tropez into the bikini capital of the world. Cannes played a crucial role in the career of Brigitte Bardot, who in turn played a crucial role in promoting the Festival, largely by starting the trend of being photographed in a bikini at her first appearance at the festival, with Bardot identified as the original Cannes bathing beauty. In 1952, she wore a bikini in Manina, the Girl in the Bikini (1952) (released in France as Manina, la fille sans voiles), a film which drew considerable attention due to her scanty swimsuit. During the 1953 Cannes Film Festival, she worked with her husband and agent Roger Vadim, and garnered a lot of attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on every beach in the south of France.

 

Like Esther Williams did a decade earlier, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot all used revealing swimwear as career props to enhance their sex appeal, and it became more accepted in parts of Europe when worn by fifties "love goddess" actresses such as Bardot, Anita Ekberg and Sophia Loren. British actress Diana Dors had a mink bikini made for her during the 1955 Venice Film Festival and wore it riding in a gondola down Venice's Grand Canal past St. Mark's Square.

 

In Spain, Benidorm played a similar role as Cannes. Shortly after the bikini was banned in Spain, Pedro Zaragoza, the mayor of Benidorm convinced dictator Francisco Franco that his town needed to legalize the bikini to draw tourists. In 1959, General Franco agreed and the town became a popular tourist destination. Interestingly, in less than four years since Franco's death in 1979, Spanish beaches and women had gone topless.

 

Legal and moral resistance

 

The swimsuit was declared sinful by the Vatican and was banned in Spain, Portugal and Italy, three countries neighboring France, as well as Belgium and Australia, and it remained prohibited in many US states. As late as in 1959, Anne Cole, a US swimsuit designer and daughter of Fred Cole, said about a Bardot bikini, "It's nothing more than a G-string. It's at the razor's edge of decency." In July that year the New York Post searched for bikinis around New York City and found only a couple. Writer Meredith Hall wrote in her memoir that till 1965 one could get a citation for wearing a bikini in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

 

In 1951, the first Miss World contest, originally the Festival Bikini Contest, was organized by Eric Morley as a mid-century advertisement for swimwear at the Festival of Britain. The press welcomed the spectacle and referred to it as Miss World, and Morley registered the name as a trademark. When, the winner Kiki Håkansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened to withdraw delegates. The bikinis were outlawed and evening gowns introduced instead. Håkansson remains the only Miss World crowned in a bikini, a crowning that was condemned by the Pope. Bikini was banned from beauty pageants around the world after the controversy. Catholic-majority countries like Belgium, Italy, Spain and Australia also banned the swimsuit that same year.

 

The National Legion of Decency pressured Hollywood to keep bikinis from being featured in Hollywood movies. The Hays production code for US movies, introduced in 1930 but not strictly enforced till 1934, allowed two-piece gowns but prohibited navels on screen. But between the introduction and enforcement of the code two Tarzan movies, Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932) and Tarzan and His Mate (1934), were released in which actress Maureen O'Sullivan wore skimpy bikini-like leather outfits. Film historian Bruce Goldstein described her clothes in the first film as "It's a loincloth open up the side. You can see loin." All at sea was allowed in the USA in 1957 after all bikini-type clothes were removed from the film. The girl in the bikini was allowed in Kansas after all the bikini close ups were removed from the film in 1959.

 

In reaction to the introduction of the bikini in Paris, American swimwear manufacturers compromised cautiously by producing their own similar design that included a halter and a midriff-bottom variation. Though size makes all the difference in a bikini, early bikinis often covered the navel. When the navel showed in pictures, it was airbrushed out by magazines like Seventeen. Navel-less women ensured the early dominance of European bikini makers over their American counterparts. By the end of the decade a vogue for strapless styles developed, wired or bound for firmness and fit, along with a taste for bare-shouldered two-pieces called Little Sinners. But, it was the halterneck bikini that caused the most moral controversy because of its degree of exposure. So much so as bikini designs called "Huba Huba" and "Revealation" were withdrawn from fashion parades in Sydney as immodest.

 

Rise to popularity

 

The appearance of bikinis kept increasing both on screen and off. The sex appeal prompted film and television productions, including Dr. Strangelove. They include the surf movies of the early 1960's. In 1960, Brian Hyland's song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" inspired a bikini-buying spree. By 1963, the movie Beach Party, starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, followed by Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) that depicted teenage girls wearing bikinis, frolicking in the sand with boys, and having a great time.

 

The beach films led a wave of films that made the bikini pop-culture symbol. In the sexual revolution in 1960's America, bikinis became quickly popular. Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Gina Lollobrigida, and Jane Russell helped further the growing popularity of bikinis. Pin-up posters of Monroe, Mansfield, Hayworth, Bardot and Raquel Welch also contributed significantly to its increasing popularity. In 1962, Playboy featured a bikini on its cover for the first time. Two years later, Sports Illustrated featured Berlin-born fashion model Babette March on the cover wearing a white bikini. The issue was the first Swimsuit Issue. It gave the bikini legitimacy, became an annual publication and an American pop-culture staple, and sells millions of copies each year. In 1965, a woman told Time it was "almost square" not to wear one. In 1967 the magazine wrote that 65% of "the young set" were wearing bikinis.

 

When Jayne Mansfield and her husband Miklós Hargitay toured for stage shows, newspapers wrote that Mansfield convinced the rural population that she owned more bikinis than anyone. She showed a fair amount of her 40-inch (1,000 mm) bust, as well as her midriff and legs, in the leopard-spot bikini she wore for her stage shows. Kathryn Wexler of The Miami Herald wrote, "In the beginning as we know it, there was Jayne Mansfield. Here she preens in leopard-print or striped bikinis, sucking in air to showcase her well noted physical assets." Her leopard-skin bikini remains one of the earlier specimens of the fashion.

 

In 1962, Bond Girl Ursula Andress emerged from the sea wearing a white bikini in Dr. No. The scene has been named one of the most memorable of the series. Channel 4 declared it the top bikini moment in film history, Virgin Media puts it ninth in its top ten, and top in the Bond girls. The Herald (Glasgow) put the scene as best ever on the basis of a poll. It also helped shape the career of Ursula Andress, and the look of the quintessential Bond movie. Andress said that she owed her career to that white bikini, remarking, "This bikini made me into a success. As a result of starring in Dr. No as the first Bond girl, I was given the freedom to take my pick of future roles and to become financially independent." In 2001, the Dr. No bikini worn by Andress in the film sold at auction for US$61,500. That white bikini has been described as a "defining moment in the sixties liberalization of screen eroticism". Because of the shocking effect from how revealing it was at the time, she got referred to by the joke nickname "Ursula Undress". According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, "So iconic was the look that it was repeated 40 years later by Halle Berry in the Bond movie Die Another Day."

 

Raquel Welch's fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. (1966) gave the world the most iconic bikini shot of all time and the poster image became an iconic moment in cinema history. The poster image of the deer skin bikini in One Million Years B.C. made her an instant pin-up girl. Welch was featured in the studio's advertising as "wearing mankind's first bikini" and the bikini was later described as a "definitive look of the 1960's". Her role wearing the leather bikini raised Welch to a fashion icon and the photo of her in the bikini became a best-selling pinup poster. One author said, "although she had only three lines in the film, her luscious figure in a fur bikini made her a star and the dream girl of millions of young moviegoers". In 2011, Time listed Welch's B.C. bikini in the "Top Ten Bikinis in Pop Culture".

 

In the 1983 film Return of the Jedi, Star Wars' Princess Leia Organa was captured by Jabba the Hutt and forced to wear a metal bikini complete with shackles. The costume was made of brass and was so uncomfortable that actress Carrie Fisher described it as "what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell." The "slave Leia" look is often imitated by female fans at Star Wars conventions. In 1997, 51 years after the bikini's debut, and 77 years after the Miss America Pageant was founded, contestants were allowed wear two-piece swimsuits, not just the swimsuits (nicknamed "bulletproof vests") traditionally issued by the pageant. Two of the 17 swimsuit finalists wore two-piece swimsuits, and Erika Kauffman, representing Hawaii, wore the briefest bikini of all and won the swimsuit competition. In 2010, the International Federation of Bodybuilders recognized Bikini as a new competitive category.

 

In India

 

Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore appeared in a bikini in An Evening in Paris (1967), a film mostly remembered for the first bikini appearance of an Indian actress. She also posed in a bikini for the glossy Filmfare magazine. The costume shocked the conservative Indian audience, but it also set a trend of bikini-clad actresses carried forward by Parveen Babi (in Yeh Nazdeekiyan, 1982), Zeenat Aman (in Heera Panna 1973; Qurbani, 1980) and Dimple Kapadia (in Bobby, 1973) in the early 1970's. Wearing a bikini put her name in the Indian press as one of Bollywood's ten hottest actresses of all time, and was a transgression of female identity through a reversal of the state of modesty, which functions as a signifier of femininity in Bombay films. By 2005, it became usual for actors in Indian films to change outfits a dozen times in a single song — starting with a chiffon sari and ending up wearing a bikini. But, when Tagore was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification in 2005, she expressed concerns about the rise of the bikini in Indian films.

 

Acceptance

 

In France, Réard's company folded in 1988, four years after his death. By that year the bikini made up nearly 20% of swimsuit sales, more than any other model in the US. As skin cancer awareness grew and a simpler aesthetic defined fashion in the 1990s, sales of the skimpy bikini decreased dramatically. The new swimwear code was epitomized by surf star Malia Jones, who appeared on the June 1997 cover of Shape Magazine wearing a halter top two-piece for rough water. After the 90's, however, the bikini came back again. US market research company NPD Group reported that sales of two-piece swimsuits nationwide jumped 80% in two years. On one hand the one-piece made a big comeback in the 1980's and early 1990's, on the other bikinis became briefer with the string bikini in the 1970's and 80's.

 

The "-kini family" (as dubbed by author William Safire), including the "-ini sisters" (as dubbed by designer Anne Cole) has grown to include a large number of subsequent variations, often with a hilarious lexicon — string bikini, monokini or numokini (top part missing), seekini (transparent bikini), tankini (tank top, bikini bottom), camikini (camisole top and bikini bottom), hikini, thong, slingshot, minimini, teardrop, and micro. In just one major fashion show in 1985, there were two-piece suits with cropped tank tops instead of the usual skimpy bandeaux, suits that are bikinis in front and one-piece behind, suspender straps, ruffles, and daring, navel-baring cutouts. To meet the fast changing tastes, some of the manufacturers have made a business out of making made-to-order bikinis in around seven minutes. The world's most expensive bikini, made up of over 150 carats (30 g) of flawless diamonds and worth a massive £20 million, was designed in February 2006 by Susan Rosen.

 

Actresses in action films like Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) and Blue Crush (2002) have made the two-piece "the millennial equivalent of the power suit", according to Gina Bellafonte of The New York Times, On September 9, 1997, Miss Maryland Jamie Fox was the first contestant in 50 years to compete in a two-piece swimsuit to compete in the Preliminary Swimsuit Competition at the Miss America Pageant. PETA used celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Traci Bingham and Alicia Mayer wearing a bikini made of iceberg-lettuce for an advertisement campaign to promote vegetarianism. A protester from Columbia University used a bikini as a message board against a New York City visit by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

 

By the end of the century, the bikini went on to become the most popular beachwear around the globe, according to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard due to "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". As he explains, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women", though one survey tells 85% of all bikinis never touch the water. According to Beth Dincuff Charleston, research associate at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "The bikini represents a social leap involving body consciousness, moral concerns, and sexual attitudes." By the early 2000's, bikinis had become a US $811 million business annually, according to the NPD Group, a consumer and retail information company. The bikini has boosted spin-off services like bikini waxing and the sun tanning industries.

 

Continued controversies

 

The bikini remained a hot topic for the news media. In May 2011, Barcelona, Spain made it illegal to wear bikinis in public except in areas near the beaches. Violators face fines of between 120 and 300 euros. In 2012, two students of St. Theresa's College in Cebu, the Philippines were barred from attending their graduation ceremony for "ample body exposure" because their bikini pictures were posted on Facebook. The students sued the college and won a temporary stay in a regional court.

 

In May 2013, Cambridge University banned the Wyverns Club of Magdalene College from arranging its annual bikini jelly wrestling. In June 2013, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who also is interested in fashion, produced a bikini for her clothing line that is designed to be worn by girls 4 to 8 years old. She was criticized for sexualizing young children by Claude Knight of Kidscape, a British foundation that strives to prevent child abuse. He commented, "We remain very opposed to the sexualization of children and of childhood ... is a great pity that such trends continue and that they carry celebrity endorsement."

 

Four women were arrested over the 2013 Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for indecent exposure when they wore thong bikinis that exposed their buttocks. In June 2013, the British watchdog agency Advertising Standards Authority banned a commercial that showed men in an office fantasizing about their colleague, played by Pamela Anderson, in a bikini for degrading women.

BOSNIAN MERMAID - ALEKSANDRA at CONEY ISLAND BEACH, NYC

 

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BOSNIAN MERMAID

 

photo by:

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HISTORY OF THE BIKINI

 

Time magazine list of top 10 bikinis in popular culture

 

-Micheline Bernardini models the first-Ever Bikini (1946)

-"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (1960)

-Annette Funicello and Beach Party (1960's)

-The belted Bond-girl bikini (1962)

-Sports Illustrated's first Swimsuit Issue (1964)

-Raquel Welch's fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. (1966)

-Phoebe Cates' Bikini in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

-Princess Leia's golden bikini in Return of the Jedi (1983)

-Official uniform of the female Olympic Beach Volleyball team (1996)

-Miss America pageant's bikini debut (1997)

 

The history of the bikini can be traced back to antiquity. Illustrations of Roman women wearing bikini-like garments during competitive athletic events have been found in several locations. The most famous of them is Villa Romana del Casale. French engineer Louis Réard introduced the modern bikini, modeled by Micheline Bernardini, on July 5, 1946, borrowing the name for his design from the Bikini Atoll, where post-war testing on the atomic bomb was happening.

 

French women welcomed the design, but the Catholic Church, some media, and a majority of the public initially thought the design was risque or even scandalous. Contestants in the first Miss World beauty pageant wore them in 1951, but the bikini was then banned from the competition. Actress Bridget Bardot drew attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on the beach during the Cannes Film Festival in 1953. Other actresses, including Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, also gathered press attention when they wore bikinis. During the early 1960's, the design appeared on the cover of Playboy and Sports Illustrated, giving it additional legitimacy. Ursula Andress made a huge impact when she emerged from the surf wearing what is now an iconic bikini in the James Bond movie Dr. No (1962). The deer skin bikini Raquel Welch wore in the film One Million Years B.C. (1966) turned her into an international sex symbol and was described as a definitive look of the 1960's.

 

The bikini gradually grew to gain wide acceptance in Western society. According to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard, the bikini is perhaps the most popular type of female beachwear around the globe because of "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". As he explains, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women." By the early 2000's, bikinis had become a US $ 811 million business annually, and boosted spin-off services like bikini waxing and the sun tanning.

 

IN ANTIQUITY

 

Pre-Roman

 

In the Chalcolithic era around 5600 BC, the mother-goddess of Çatalhöyük, a large ancient settlement in southern Anatolia, was depicted astride two leopards wearing a costume somewhat like a bikini. Two-piece garments worn by women for athletic purposes are depicted on Greek urns and paintings dating back to 1400 BC. Active women of ancient Greece wore a breastband called a mastodeton or an apodesmos, which continued to be used as an undergarment in the Middle Ages. While men in ancient Greece abandoned the perizoma, partly high-cut briefs and partly loincloth, women performers and acrobats continued to wear it.

 

Roman

 

Artwork dating back to the Diocletian period (286-305 AD) in Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily, excavated by Gino Vinicio Gentile in 1950-60, depicts women in garments resembling bikinis in mosaics on the floor. The images of ten women, dubbed the "Bikini Girls", exercising in clothing that would pass as bikinis today, are the most replicated mosaic among the 37 million colored tiles at the site. In the artwork "Coronation of the Winner" done in floor mosaic in the Chamber of the Ten Maidens (Sala delle Dieci Ragazze in Italian) the bikini girls are depicted weight-lifting, discus throwing, and running. Some activities depicted have been described as dancing, as their bodies resemble dancers rather than athletes. Coronation in the title of the mosaic comes from a woman in a toga with a crown in her hand and one of the maidens holding a palm frond. Some academics maintain that the nearby image of Eros, the primordial god of lust, love, and intercourse, was added later, demonstrating the owner's predilections and strengthening the association of the bikini with the erotic. Similar mosaics have been discovered in Tellaro in northern Italy and Patti, another part of Sicily. Prostitution, skimpy clothes and athletic bodies were related in ancient Rome, as images were found of female sex workers exercising with dumbbells/clappers and other equipment wearing costumes similar to the Bikini Girls.

 

Charles Seltman, a fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, curator of the Archaeology Museum there and an editor of The Cambridge Ancient History, illustrated a chapter titled "The new woman" in his book Women in Antiquity with a 1950's model wearing an identical bikini against the 4th-century mosaics from Piazza Armerina as part of a sisterhood between the bikini-clad female athletes of ancient Greco-Romans and modern woman. A photograph of the mosaic was used by Sarah Pomeroy, Professor of Classics at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, in the 1994 British edition of her book Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves to emphasize a similar identification. According to archaeologist George M.A. Hanfmann the bikini girls made the learned observers realize "how modern the ancients were".

 

In ancient Rome, the bikini-style bottom, a wrapped loincloth of cloth or leather, was called a subligar or subligaculum ("little binding underneath"), while a band of cloth or leather to support the breasts was called strophium or mamillare. The exercising bikini girls from Piazza Armenia wear subligaria, scanty briefs made as a dainty version of a man's perizoma, and a strophium band about the breasts, often referred to in literature as just fascia, which can mean any kind of bandage. Observation of artifacts and experiments shows bands had to be wrapped several times around the breasts, largely to flatten them in a style popular with flappers in the 1920's. These Greco-Roman breastbands may have flattened big breasts and padded small breasts to look bigger. Evidence suggests regular use. The "bikini girls" from Piazza Armenia, some of whom sport the braless look of the late 20th century, do not depict any propensity of such popularity in style. One bottom, made of leather, from Roman Britain was displayed at the Museum of London in 1998. There has been no evidence that these bikinis were for swimming or sun-bathing.

 

Finds especially in Pompeii show the so-called Roman goddess Venus wearing a bikini. A statue of the so-called Venus in a bikini was found in a cupboard in the southwest corner in Casa della Venere, others were found in the front hall. A statue of the so-called Venus was recovered from the tablinum of the house of Julia Felix, and another from an atrium in the garden at Via Dell'Abbondanza. Naples National Archaeological Museum, which opened its limited viewing gallery of more explicit exhibits in 2000, also exhibits a "Venus in Bikini". However, the Naples National Archaeological Museum is keen to stress that this statue actually depicts her Greek counterpart Aphrodite as she is about to untie her sandal, a common theme among other works depicting Aphrodite. The museum's exhibits include female statues wearing see-through gold lamé brassiere, basque and knickers. The Kings of Naples discovered these Pompeii artifacts, including the one meter tall, almost unclothed statue of Venus painted in gold leaf with something like a modern bikini. They found them so shocking that for long periods the secret chamber was opened only to "mature persons of secure morals". Even after the doors were opened, only 20 visitors were to be admitted at a time, and children under 12 were not allowed into the new part of the museum without their parents' or a teacher's permission.

 

There are references to bikinis in ancient literature as well. Ovid, the writer ranked alongside Virgil and Horace as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature, suggests the breastband or long strip of cloth wrapped around the breasts and tucked in the ends, is a good place to hide love-letters. Martial, a Latin poet from Hispania who published between AD 86 and 103, satirized a female athlete he named Philaenis, who played ball in a bikini-like garb quite bluntly, making her drink, gorge and vomit in abundance and hinting at her lesbianism. In an epigram on Chione, Martial strangely mentions a sex worker who went to the bathhouse in a bikini, while it was more natural to go unclothed. Reportedly Theodora, the 6th century empress of the Byzantine Empire wore a bikini when she appeared as an actress before she captured the heart of emperor Justinian I.

 

There is evidence of ancient Roman women playing expulsim ludere, an early version of handball, wearing a costume that has been identified as bikinis.

 

Interval

 

Between the classical bikinis and the modern bikini there has been a long interval. Swimming or outdoor bathing were discouraged in the Christian West and there was little need for a bathing or swimming costume till the 18th century. The bathing gown in the 18th century was a loose ankle-length full-sleeve chemise-type gown made of wool or flannel, so that modesty or decency was not threatened. In the first half of 19th century the top became knee-length while an ankle-length drawer was added as a bottom. By the second half of 19th century, in France, the sleeves started to vanish, the bottom became shorter to reach only the knees and the top became hip-length and both became more form fitting. In the 1900's women wore wool dresses on the beach that were made of up to 9 yards (8.2 m) of fabric. That standard of swimwear evolved into the modern bikini in the first of half of the 20th century.

 

Breakthrough

 

In 1907, Australian swimmer and performer Annette Kellerman was arrested on a Boston beach for wearing a form-fitting sleeveless one-piece knitted swimming tights that covered her from neck to toe, a costume she adopted from England, although it became accepted swimsuit attire for women in parts of Europe by 1910. Even in 1943, pictures of the Kellerman swimsuit were produced as evidence of indecency in Esquire v. Walker, Postmaster General. But, Harper's Bazaar wrote in June 1920 (vol. 55, no. 6, p. 138) - "Annette Kellerman Bathing Attire is distinguished by an incomparable, daring beauty of fit that always remains refined." The following year, in June 1921 (vol. 54, no. 2504, p. 101) it wrote that these bathing suits were "famous ... for their perfect fit and exquisite, plastic beauty of line."

 

Female swimming was introduced at the 1912 Summer Olympics. In 1913, inspired by that breakthrough, the designer Carl Jantzen made the first functional two-piece swimwear, a close-fitting one-piece with shorts on the bottom and short sleeves on top. Silent films such as The Water Nymph (1912) saw Mabel Normand in revealing attire, and this was followed by the daringly dressed Sennett Bathing Beauties (1915–1929). The name "swim suit" was coined in 1915 by Jantzen Knitting Mills, a sweater manufacturer who launched a swimwear brand named the Red Diving Girl,. The first annual bathing-suit day at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1916 was a landmark. The swimsuit apron, a design for early swimwear, disappeared by 1918, leaving a tunic covering the shorts.

 

During the 1920's and 1930's, people began to shift from "taking in the water" to "taking in the sun," at bathhouses and spas, and swimsuit designs shifted from functional considerations to incorporate more decorative features. Rayon was used in the 1920's in the manufacture of tight-fitting swimsuits, but its durability, especially when wet, proved problematic, with jersey and silk also sometimes being used. Burlesque and vaudeville performers wore two-piece outfits in the 1920's. The 1929 film "Man with a Movie Camera" shows Russian women wearing early two-piece swimsuits which expose their midriff, and a few who are topless. Films of holidaymakers in Germany in the 1930's show women wearing two-piece suits,

 

Necklines and midriff

 

By the 1930's, necklines plunged at the back, sleeves disappeared and sides were cut away and tightened. With the development of new clothing materials, particularly latex and nylon, through the 1930's swimsuits gradually began hugging the body, with shoulder straps that could be lowered for tanning. Women's swimwear of the 1930's and 1940's incorporated increasing degrees of midriff exposure. Coco Chanel made suntans fashionable, and in 1932 French designer Madeleine Vionnet offered an exposed midriff in an evening gown. They were seen a year later in Gold Diggers of 1933. The Busby Berkeley film Footlight Parade of 1932 showcases aqua-choreography that featured bikinis. Dorothy Lamour's The Hurricane (1937) also showed two-piece bathing suits.

 

The 1934 film, Fashions of 1934 featured chorus girls wearing two-piece outfits which look identical to modern bikinis. In 1934, a National Recreation Association study on the use of leisure time found that swimming, encouraged by the freedom of movement the new swimwear designs provided, was second only to movies in popularity as free time activity out of a list of 94 activities. In 1935 American designer Claire McCardell cut out the side panels of a maillot-style bathing suit, the bikini's forerunner. The 1938 invention of the Telescopic Watersuit in shirred elastic cotton ushered into the end the era of wool. Cotton sun-tops, printed with palm trees, and silk or rayon pajamas, usually with a blouse top, became popular by 1939. Wartime production during World War II required vast amounts of cotton, silk, nylon, wool, leather, and rubber. In 1942 the United States War Production Board issued Regulation L-85, cutting the use of natural fibers in clothing and mandating a 10% reduction in the amount of fabric in women's beachwear. To comply with the regulations, swimsuit manufacturers produced two-piece suits with bare midriffs.

 

Postwar

 

Fabric shortage continued for some time after the end of the war. Two-piece swimsuits without the usual skirt panel and other excess material started appearing in the US when the government ordered a 10% reduction in fabric used in woman's swimwear in 1943 as wartime rationing. By that time, two-piece swimsuits were frequent on American beaches. The July 9, 1945, Life shows women in Paris wearing similar items. Hollywood stars like Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner tried similar swimwear or beachwear. Pin ups of Hayworth and Esther Williams in the costume were widely distributed. The most provocative swimsuit was the 1946 Moonlight Buoy, a bottom and a top of material that weighed only eight ounces. What made the Moonlight Buoy distinctive was a large cork buckle attached to the bottoms, which made it possible to tie the top to the cork buckle and splash around au naturel while keeping both parts of the suit afloat. Life magazine had a photo essay on the Moonlight Buoy and wrote, "The name of the suit, of course, suggests the nocturnal conditions under which nude swimming is most agreeable."

 

American designer Adele Simpson, a Coty American Fashion Critics' Awards winner (1947) and a notable alumna of the New York art school Pratt Institute, who believed clothes must be comfortable and practical, designed a large part of her swimwear line with one-piece suits that were considered fashionable even in early 1980's. This was when Cole of California started marketing revealing prohibition suits and Catalina Swimwear introduced almost bare-back designs. Teen magazines of late 1940's and 1950's featured designs of midriff-baring suits and tops. However, midriff fashion was stated as only for beaches and informal events and considered indecent to be worn in public. Hollywood endorsed the new glamour with films such as Neptune's Daughter (1949) in which Esther Williams wore provocatively named costumes such as "Double Entendre" and "Honey Child". Williams, who also was an Amateur Athletic Union champion in the 100 meter freestyle (1939) and an Olympics swimming finalist (1940), also portrayed Kellerman in the 1952 film Million Dollar Mermaid (titled as The One Piece Bathing Suit in UK).

 

Swimwear of the 1940's, 50's and early 60's followed the silhouette mostly from early 1930's. Keeping in line with the ultra-feminine look dominated by Dior, it evolved into a dress with cinched waists and constructed bust-lines, accessorized with earrings, bracelets, hats, scarves, sunglasses, hand bags and cover-ups. Many of these pre-bikinis had fancy names like Double Entendre, Honey Child (to maximize small bosoms), Shipshape (to minimize large bosoms), Diamond Lil (trimmed with rhinestones and lace), Swimming In Mink (trimmed with fur across the bodice) and Spearfisherman (heavy poplin with a rope belt for carrying a knife), Beau Catcher, Leading Lady, Pretty Foxy, Side Issue, Forecast, and Fabulous Fit. According to Vogue the swimwear had become more of "state of dress, not undress" by mid-1950's.

 

The modern bikini

 

French fashion designer Jacques Heim, who owned a beach shop in the French Riviera resort town of Cannes, introduced a minimalist two-piece design in May 1946 which he named the "Atome," after the smallest known particle of matter. The bottom of his design was just large enough to cover the wearer's navel.

 

At the same time, Louis Réard, a French automotive and mechanical engineer, was running his mother's lingerie business near Les Folies Bergères in Paris. He noticed women on St. Tropez beaches rolling up the edges of their swimsuits to get a better tan and was inspired to produce a more minimal design. He trimmed additional fabric off the bottom of the swimsuit, exposing the wearer's navel for the first time. Réard's string bikini consisted of four triangles made from 30 square inches (194 cm2) of fabric printed with a newspaper pattern.

 

When Réard sought a model to wear his design at his press conference, none of the usual models would wear the suit, so he hired 19 year old nude dancer Micheline Bernardini from the Casino de Paris. He introduced his design to the media and public on July 5, 1946, in Paris at Piscine Molitor, a public pool in Paris. Réard held the press conference five days after the first test of a nuclear device (nicknamed Able) over the Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads. His swimsuit design shocked the press and public because it was the first to reveal the wearer's navel.

 

To promote his new design, Heim hired skywriters to fly above the Mediterranean resort advertising the Atome as "the world's smallest bathing suit." Not to be outdone by Heim, Réard hired his own skywriters three weeks later to fly over the French Riviera advertising his design as "smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world."

 

Heim's design was the first to be worn on the beach, but the name given by Réard stuck with the public. Despite significant social resistance, Réard received more than 50,000 letters from fans. He also initiated a bold ad campaign that told the public a two-piece swimsuit was not a genuine bikini "unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring." According to Kevin Jones, curator and fashion historian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, "Réard was ahead of his time by about 15 to 20 years. Only women in the vanguard, mostly upper-class European women embraced it."

 

Social resistance

 

Bikini sales did not pick up around the world as women stuck to traditional two-piece swimsuits. Réard went back to designing conventional knickers to sell in his mother's shop. According to Kevin Jones, curator and fashion historian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, "Réard was ahead of his time by about 15 to 20 years. Only women in the vanguard, mostly upper-class European women embraced it, just like the upper-class European women who first cast off their corsets after World War I." It was banned in the French Atlantic coastline, Spain, Belgium and Italy, three countries neighboring France, as well as Portugal and Australia, and it was prohibited in some US states, and discouraged in others.

 

In 1951, the first Miss World contest (originally the Festival Bikini Contest), was organized by Eric Morley. When the winner, Kiki Håkansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened to withdraw delegates. Håkansson remains the first and last Miss World to be crowned in her bikini, a crowning that was condemned by Pope Pius XII who declared the swimsuit to be sinful. Bikinis were banned from beauty pageants around the world after the controversy. In 1949 the Los Angeles Times reported that Miss America Bebe Shopp on her visit to Paris said she did not approve the bikini for American girls, though she did not mind French girls wearing them. Actresses in movies like My Favorite Brunette (1947) and the model on a 1948 cover of LIFE were shown in traditional two-piece swimwear, not the bikini.

 

In 1950, Time magazine interviewed American swimsuit mogul Fred Cole, owner of Cole of California, and reported that he had "little but scorn for France's famed Bikinis," because they were designed for "diminutive Gallic women". "French girls have short legs," he explained, "Swimsuits have to be hiked up at the sides to make their legs look longer." Réard himself described it as a two-piece bathing suit which "reveals everything about a girl except for her mother's maiden name." Even Esther Williams commented, "A bikini is a thoughtless act." But, popularity of the charms of Pin-up queen and Hollywood star Williams were to vanish along with pre-bikinis with fancy names over the next few decades. Australian designer Paula Straford introduced the bikini to Gold Coast in 1952. In 1957, Das moderne Mädchen (The Modern Girl) wrote, "It is unthinkable that a decent girl with tact would ever wear such a thing." Eight years later a Munich student was punished to six days cleaning work at an old home because she had strolled across the central Viktualienmarkt square, Munich in a bikini.

 

The Cannes connection

Despite the controversy, some in France admired "naughty girls who decorate our sun-drenched beaches". Brigitte Bardot, photographed wearing similar garments on beaches during the Cannes Film Festival (1953) helped popularize the bikini in Europe in the 1950's and created a market in the US. Photographs of Bardot in a bikini, according to The Guardian, turned Saint-Tropez into the bikini capital of the world. Cannes played a crucial role in the career of Brigitte Bardot, who in turn played a crucial role in promoting the Festival, largely by starting the trend of being photographed in a bikini at her first appearance at the festival, with Bardot identified as the original Cannes bathing beauty. In 1952, she wore a bikini in Manina, the Girl in the Bikini (1952) (released in France as Manina, la fille sans voiles), a film which drew considerable attention due to her scanty swimsuit. During the 1953 Cannes Film Festival, she worked with her husband and agent Roger Vadim, and garnered a lot of attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on every beach in the south of France.

 

Like Esther Williams did a decade earlier, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot all used revealing swimwear as career props to enhance their sex appeal, and it became more accepted in parts of Europe when worn by fifties "love goddess" actresses such as Bardot, Anita Ekberg and Sophia Loren. British actress Diana Dors had a mink bikini made for her during the 1955 Venice Film Festival and wore it riding in a gondola down Venice's Grand Canal past St. Mark's Square.

 

In Spain, Benidorm played a similar role as Cannes. Shortly after the bikini was banned in Spain, Pedro Zaragoza, the mayor of Benidorm convinced dictator Francisco Franco that his town needed to legalize the bikini to draw tourists. In 1959, General Franco agreed and the town became a popular tourist destination. Interestingly, in less than four years since Franco's death in 1979, Spanish beaches and women had gone topless.

 

Legal and moral resistance

 

The swimsuit was declared sinful by the Vatican and was banned in Spain, Portugal and Italy, three countries neighboring France, as well as Belgium and Australia, and it remained prohibited in many US states. As late as in 1959, Anne Cole, a US swimsuit designer and daughter of Fred Cole, said about a Bardot bikini, "It's nothing more than a G-string. It's at the razor's edge of decency." In July that year the New York Post searched for bikinis around New York City and found only a couple. Writer Meredith Hall wrote in her memoir that till 1965 one could get a citation for wearing a bikini in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

 

In 1951, the first Miss World contest, originally the Festival Bikini Contest, was organized by Eric Morley as a mid-century advertisement for swimwear at the Festival of Britain. The press welcomed the spectacle and referred to it as Miss World, and Morley registered the name as a trademark. When, the winner Kiki Håkansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened to withdraw delegates. The bikinis were outlawed and evening gowns introduced instead. Håkansson remains the only Miss World crowned in a bikini, a crowning that was condemned by the Pope. Bikini was banned from beauty pageants around the world after the controversy. Catholic-majority countries like Belgium, Italy, Spain and Australia also banned the swimsuit that same year.

 

The National Legion of Decency pressured Hollywood to keep bikinis from being featured in Hollywood movies. The Hays production code for US movies, introduced in 1930 but not strictly enforced till 1934, allowed two-piece gowns but prohibited navels on screen. But between the introduction and enforcement of the code two Tarzan movies, Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932) and Tarzan and His Mate (1934), were released in which actress Maureen O'Sullivan wore skimpy bikini-like leather outfits. Film historian Bruce Goldstein described her clothes in the first film as "It's a loincloth open up the side. You can see loin." All at sea was allowed in the USA in 1957 after all bikini-type clothes were removed from the film. The girl in the bikini was allowed in Kansas after all the bikini close ups were removed from the film in 1959.

 

In reaction to the introduction of the bikini in Paris, American swimwear manufacturers compromised cautiously by producing their own similar design that included a halter and a midriff-bottom variation. Though size makes all the difference in a bikini, early bikinis often covered the navel. When the navel showed in pictures, it was airbrushed out by magazines like Seventeen. Navel-less women ensured the early dominance of European bikini makers over their American counterparts. By the end of the decade a vogue for strapless styles developed, wired or bound for firmness and fit, along with a taste for bare-shouldered two-pieces called Little Sinners. But, it was the halterneck bikini that caused the most moral controversy because of its degree of exposure. So much so as bikini designs called "Huba Huba" and "Revealation" were withdrawn from fashion parades in Sydney as immodest.

 

Rise to popularity

 

The appearance of bikinis kept increasing both on screen and off. The sex appeal prompted film and television productions, including Dr. Strangelove. They include the surf movies of the early 1960's. In 1960, Brian Hyland's song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" inspired a bikini-buying spree. By 1963, the movie Beach Party, starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, followed by Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) that depicted teenage girls wearing bikinis, frolicking in the sand with boys, and having a great time.

 

The beach films led a wave of films that made the bikini pop-culture symbol. In the sexual revolution in 1960's America, bikinis became quickly popular. Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Gina Lollobrigida, and Jane Russell helped further the growing popularity of bikinis. Pin-up posters of Monroe, Mansfield, Hayworth, Bardot and Raquel Welch also contributed significantly to its increasing popularity. In 1962, Playboy featured a bikini on its cover for the first time. Two years later, Sports Illustrated featured Berlin-born fashion model Babette March on the cover wearing a white bikini. The issue was the first Swimsuit Issue. It gave the bikini legitimacy, became an annual publication and an American pop-culture staple, and sells millions of copies each year. In 1965, a woman told Time it was "almost square" not to wear one. In 1967 the magazine wrote that 65% of "the young set" were wearing bikinis.

 

When Jayne Mansfield and her husband Miklós Hargitay toured for stage shows, newspapers wrote that Mansfield convinced the rural population that she owned more bikinis than anyone. She showed a fair amount of her 40-inch (1,000 mm) bust, as well as her midriff and legs, in the leopard-spot bikini she wore for her stage shows. Kathryn Wexler of The Miami Herald wrote, "In the beginning as we know it, there was Jayne Mansfield. Here she preens in leopard-print or striped bikinis, sucking in air to showcase her well noted physical assets." Her leopard-skin bikini remains one of the earlier specimens of the fashion.

 

In 1962, Bond Girl Ursula Andress emerged from the sea wearing a white bikini in Dr. No. The scene has been named one of the most memorable of the series. Channel 4 declared it the top bikini moment in film history, Virgin Media puts it ninth in its top ten, and top in the Bond girls. The Herald (Glasgow) put the scene as best ever on the basis of a poll. It also helped shape the career of Ursula Andress, and the look of the quintessential Bond movie. Andress said that she owed her career to that white bikini, remarking, "This bikini made me into a success. As a result of starring in Dr. No as the first Bond girl, I was given the freedom to take my pick of future roles and to become financially independent." In 2001, the Dr. No bikini worn by Andress in the film sold at auction for US$61,500. That white bikini has been described as a "defining moment in the sixties liberalization of screen eroticism". Because of the shocking effect from how revealing it was at the time, she got referred to by the joke nickname "Ursula Undress". According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, "So iconic was the look that it was repeated 40 years later by Halle Berry in the Bond movie Die Another Day."

 

Raquel Welch's fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. (1966) gave the world the most iconic bikini shot of all time and the poster image became an iconic moment in cinema history. The poster image of the deer skin bikini in One Million Years B.C. made her an instant pin-up girl. Welch was featured in the studio's advertising as "wearing mankind's first bikini" and the bikini was later described as a "definitive look of the 1960's". Her role wearing the leather bikini raised Welch to a fashion icon and the photo of her in the bikini became a best-selling pinup poster. One author said, "although she had only three lines in the film, her luscious figure in a fur bikini made her a star and the dream girl of millions of young moviegoers". In 2011, Time listed Welch's B.C. bikini in the "Top Ten Bikinis in Pop Culture".

 

In the 1983 film Return of the Jedi, Star Wars' Princess Leia Organa was captured by Jabba the Hutt and forced to wear a metal bikini complete with shackles. The costume was made of brass and was so uncomfortable that actress Carrie Fisher described it as "what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell." The "slave Leia" look is often imitated by female fans at Star Wars conventions. In 1997, 51 years after the bikini's debut, and 77 years after the Miss America Pageant was founded, contestants were allowed wear two-piece swimsuits, not just the swimsuits (nicknamed "bulletproof vests") traditionally issued by the pageant. Two of the 17 swimsuit finalists wore two-piece swimsuits, and Erika Kauffman, representing Hawaii, wore the briefest bikini of all and won the swimsuit competition. In 2010, the International Federation of Bodybuilders recognized Bikini as a new competitive category.

 

In India

 

Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore appeared in a bikini in An Evening in Paris (1967), a film mostly remembered for the first bikini appearance of an Indian actress. She also posed in a bikini for the glossy Filmfare magazine. The costume shocked the conservative Indian audience, but it also set a trend of bikini-clad actresses carried forward by Parveen Babi (in Yeh Nazdeekiyan, 1982), Zeenat Aman (in Heera Panna 1973; Qurbani, 1980) and Dimple Kapadia (in Bobby, 1973) in the early 1970's. Wearing a bikini put her name in the Indian press as one of Bollywood's ten hottest actresses of all time, and was a transgression of female identity through a reversal of the state of modesty, which functions as a signifier of femininity in Bombay films. By 2005, it became usual for actors in Indian films to change outfits a dozen times in a single song — starting with a chiffon sari and ending up wearing a bikini. But, when Tagore was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification in 2005, she expressed concerns about the rise of the bikini in Indian films.

 

Acceptance

 

In France, Réard's company folded in 1988, four years after his death. By that year the bikini made up nearly 20% of swimsuit sales, more than any other model in the US. As skin cancer awareness grew and a simpler aesthetic defined fashion in the 1990s, sales of the skimpy bikini decreased dramatically. The new swimwear code was epitomized by surf star Malia Jones, who appeared on the June 1997 cover of Shape Magazine wearing a halter top two-piece for rough water. After the 90's, however, the bikini came back again. US market research company NPD Group reported that sales of two-piece swimsuits nationwide jumped 80% in two years. On one hand the one-piece made a big comeback in the 1980's and early 1990's, on the other bikinis became briefer with the string bikini in the 1970's and 80's.

 

The "-kini family" (as dubbed by author William Safire), including the "-ini sisters" (as dubbed by designer Anne Cole) has grown to include a large number of subsequent variations, often with a hilarious lexicon — string bikini, monokini or numokini (top part missing), seekini (transparent bikini), tankini (tank top, bikini bottom), camikini (camisole top and bikini bottom), hikini, thong, slingshot, minimini, teardrop, and micro. In just one major fashion show in 1985, there were two-piece suits with cropped tank tops instead of the usual skimpy bandeaux, suits that are bikinis in front and one-piece behind, suspender straps, ruffles, and daring, navel-baring cutouts. To meet the fast changing tastes, some of the manufacturers have made a business out of making made-to-order bikinis in around seven minutes. The world's most expensive bikini, made up of over 150 carats (30 g) of flawless diamonds and worth a massive £20 million, was designed in February 2006 by Susan Rosen.

 

Actresses in action films like Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) and Blue Crush (2002) have made the two-piece "the millennial equivalent of the power suit", according to Gina Bellafonte of The New York Times, On September 9, 1997, Miss Maryland Jamie Fox was the first contestant in 50 years to compete in a two-piece swimsuit to compete in the Preliminary Swimsuit Competition at the Miss America Pageant. PETA used celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Traci Bingham and Alicia Mayer wearing a bikini made of iceberg-lettuce for an advertisement campaign to promote vegetarianism. A protester from Columbia University used a bikini as a message board against a New York City visit by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

 

By the end of the century, the bikini went on to become the most popular beachwear around the globe, according to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard due to "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". As he explains, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women", though one survey tells 85% of all bikinis never touch the water. According to Beth Dincuff Charleston, research associate at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "The bikini represents a social leap involving body consciousness, moral concerns, and sexual attitudes." By the early 2000's, bikinis had become a US $811 million business annually, according to the NPD Group, a consumer and retail information company. The bikini has boosted spin-off services like bikini waxing and the sun tanning industries.

 

Continued controversies

 

The bikini remained a hot topic for the news media. In May 2011, Barcelona, Spain made it illegal to wear bikinis in public except in areas near the beaches. Violators face fines of between 120 and 300 euros. In 2012, two students of St. Theresa's College in Cebu, the Philippines were barred from attending their graduation ceremony for "ample body exposure" because their bikini pictures were posted on Facebook. The students sued the college and won a temporary stay in a regional court.

 

In May 2013, Cambridge University banned the Wyverns Club of Magdalene College from arranging its annual bikini jelly wrestling. In June 2013, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who also is interested in fashion, produced a bikini for her clothing line that is designed to be worn by girls 4 to 8 years old. She was criticized for sexualizing young children by Claude Knight of Kidscape, a British foundation that strives to prevent child abuse. He commented, "We remain very opposed to the sexualization of children and of childhood ... is a great pity that such trends continue and that they carry celebrity endorsement."

 

Four women were arrested over the 2013 Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for indecent exposure when they wore thong bikinis that exposed their buttocks. In June 2013, the British watchdog agency Advertising Standards Authority banned a commercial that showed men in an office fantasizing about their colleague, played by Pamela Anderson, in a bikini for degrading women.

 

Links:

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bikini

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini_variants

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swimsuit

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini_in_popular_culture

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indecent_exposure

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indecent_exposure_in_the_United_States

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Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

 

Beautiful Swiss actress Marthe Keller (1945) appeared in several French, Italian and German films but she became a star when she played a beautiful princess in the TV series La demoiselle d'Avignon/The lady of Avignon (1972). She then seemed to make it big in Hollywood with an award winning role in Marathon Man (1976) and a much-publicized affair with Al Pacino. But the failure of Fedora (1978) halted a major international film career. She continued to act in European productions, and since 1999 she has a new career as an opera director.

 

Marthe Keller was born on a horse farm located near Basel, Switzerland in 1945. She studied ballet as a child, but stopped after a skiing accident at age 16 and changed to acting. She studied three years at the Stanislavsky School in Munich, and meanwhile modeled to pay the rent. She worked in Berlin at the Schiller Theatre and the Berliner Ensemble. From 1964 on, Keller appeared in German TV films like Der trojanische Krieg findet nicht statt/The Trojan war will not take place (1964, Franz Josef Wild) and Corinne und der Seebär/Corinne and the Fur Seal (1966, Thomas Engel). Keller's film debut was an uncredited bit part in the spy thriller Funeral in Berlin (1966, Guy Hamilton) starring Michael Caine. She had a bigger role in the German film comedy Wilder Reiter GmbH/Wild Rider Ltd. (1967, Franz-Josef Spieker). In 1968 she moved to Paris. In France she appeared in the comedy Le diable par la queue/The Devil by the Tail (1969, Philippe de Broca) starring Yves Montand. She and director Philippe de Broca started a relationship. She played the title role in his romantic comedy Les caprices de Marie/Give Her the Moon (1970, Philippe de Broca), and in 1971 their son, Alexandre was born. In Paris she also played on stage as Sheila in Peter Nichols' Un jour dans la mort de Joe Egg/A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1970). For this part she was awarded the French Critics' Award for the best stage performance. In the following years she appeared in a series of French films, including Un cave/A Loser (1971, Gilles Grangier) opposite Claude Brasseur, and the comedy La vieille fille/The Old Maid (1972, Jean-Pierre Blanc) starring Annie Girardot. Another medium made her a star though. She won the hearts of millions of European TV viewers as Princess Kristina of Kurland aka Koba Lye-Lye in the popular series La demoiselle d'Avignon/The lady of Avignon (1972, Michel Wyn). Nicholas Rhodes reviews it at IMDb: “This series is a piece of pure magic (...) and captivated the whole of France (99.4 percent of satisfied viewers at the time!). Although the picture quality is pretty bad, the story itself and the sets are absolutely magnificent. It's all about a love affair between a Frenchman whose mother owns a chateau near Avignon and a princess from the imaginary country of ‘Kurland'” She followed it with a leading role in the romance Toute une vie/And Now My Love (1974, Claude Lelouch), and a part opposite Marcello Mastroianni in the Italian-French drama Per le antiche scale/Down the Ancient Staircase (1975, Mauro Bolognini).

 

In the mid-1970’s Marthe Keller made the cross-over to Hollywood. She played Dustin Hoffman's girlfriend in the thriller Marathon Man (1976, John Schlesinger). The film became a huge hit and Keller was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. She played a femme fatale Arab terrorist who leads an attack on the Super Bowl in the suspense thriller Black Sunday (1977, John Frankenheimer). Next she appeared alongside Al Pacino in the auto racing film Bobby Deerfield (1977, Sydney Pollack), and subsequently the two stars were involved in a relationship. She garnered a great deal of publicity from these movies and from her love affair with Pacino. Keller’s next film was expected to make her a major star. Hollywood legend Billy Wilder was making Fedora (1978), based on Tom Tryon’s best seller Crowned Heads about Old Hollywood and the Old Star System and offered her the title role opposite William Holden. Jon C Hopwood in his IMDB bio describes what went wrong: “Wilder had wanted to cast Faye Dunaway as ‘Fedora’, a pastiche of Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich (...) He expected the actress to play the fictional movie queen both in her youthful incarnation and as an older woman (now known as ‘Countess Sobryanski’). When Dunaway passed on the part, the red-hot Keller was cast in the movie. However, Wilder was dismayed when the makeup prepared to transform Keller into the older Fedora (as Countess Sobryanski) aggravated a large scar on her forehead and caused so much pain that she couldn't act under those conditions. Wilder was forced to cast an older actress (Hildegard Knef) as the Countess. Wilder and Keller never established a good working relationship, with the result that her poor performance essentially was blamed for the failure of the film both artistically and at the box office.” She appeared in another Hollywiood production, the thriller The Formula (1980, John G. Avilssen) with George C. Scott and Marlon Brando, and in 1982 she returned to Europe.

 

Since then, Marthe Keller mainly worked in the European cinema and for TV. Mauro Bolognini directed her again in the Mini-series La certosa di Parma/The Charterhouse of Parma (1982), based on the novel by Stendhal and co-starring Gian Maria Volonté. She reunited with Marcello Mastroianni in Oci Cionie/Dark Eyes (1987, Nikita Mikhalkov), which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and in Sostiene Pereira/According to Pereira (1995, Roberto Faenza). Interesting is also the Yukio Mishima adaptation L'école de la chair/The School of Flesh (1998, Benoit Jacquot) in which she appeared with Isabelle Huppert. In 2001, Keller appeared in a Broadway adaptation of Abby Mann's play Judgment at Nuremberg as Mrs. Bertholt (the role played by Marlene Dietrich in the 1961 film version). She was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress for this performance. In addition to her work in film and theatre, Keller has developed a career in classical music as a speaker and opera director. She has performed the speaking role of Joan of Arc in the oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher of Arthur Honegger on several occasions, with conductors such as Seiji Ozawa and Kurt Masur. She has recorded the role for Deutsche Grammophon with Ozawa. Keller has also recited the spoken part in Igor Stravinsky's Perséphone. She has performed classical music melodramas for speaker and piano in recital. The Swiss composer Michael Jarrell wrote the melodrama Cassandre, after the novel of Christa Wolf, for Keller, who gave the world premiere in 1994. Keller's first production as an opera director was Dialogues des Carmélites, for Opéra National du Rhin, in 1999. This production subsequently received a semi-staged performance in London that year. She has also directed Lucia di Lammermoor for Washington National Opera and for Los Angeles Opera. Her directorial debut at the Metropolitan Opera was in a 2004 production of Don Giovanni. More recently she was seen in a small role in Clint Eastwood’s fantasy drama Hereafter (2010) starring Cécile de France and Matt Damon. It was followed by a bigger role in the German WW II comedy Mein bester Feind/My Best Enemy (2011, Wolfgang Murnberger) starring Moritz Bleibtreu, the Belgian drama Les géants/The Giants (2011, Bouli Lanners), and the BBC TV thriller Page Eight (2011, David Hare) starring Bill Nighy. In 2012 the French government named her Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.

 

Sources: Jon C. Hopwood (IMDb), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.

Angelina Jolie is an American actress. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. Jolie promotes humanitarian causes, and is noted for her work with refugees as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She has been cited as one of the world's most attractive people, as well as the world's "most beautiful" woman, titles for which she has received substantial media attention.

German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/357. Photo: Georg Michalke.

 

French brunette Dominique Boschero (1934) is famous among cult film fans for her roles in dozens of Italian giallos and spaghetti westerns. The gorgeous actress appeared in a surprisingly large amount of films from the mid-1950’s to the mid 1980’s.

 

Dominique Boschero was born in Paris, France in 1934. She is the sister of actor-producer Martial Boschero. Their parents were Italian and when World War II broke out, the 5-year old Dominique was trusted in the hands of her grandparents in Frassino, a small Italian mountain village with a few hundred of inhabitants. There she grew up. At 15, she returned to Paris and started to work as a janitor in a hospital and later as a seamstress. With her tall length and her dark beauty she found work as a model. Soon her beautiful face was on the covers of Paris’ premiere fashion magazines. At the age of 18, she made her stage debut as a showgirl at the Paris music-hall La Nouvelle Eve (The New Eve). She also played small or uncredited roles in French films, such as Club de Femmes/Club of Women (1956, Ralph Habib) with Nicole Courcel and Dany Carrel, but a year later she had a bigger part in Printemps a Paris/Springtime in Paris (1957, Jean-Claude Roy) with Christine Carère and Philippe Nicaud. She got another bigger role in Delannoy's Le baron de l'ecluse/The Baron of the Locks (1960, Jean Delannoy) starring Jean Gabin and Micheline Presle. Following an interview with the Italian magazine Epoca she was noticed by an Italian producer, who invited her to come to the capital of the European cinema at the time, Rome.

 

Dominique Boschero headed off to Italy, beginning her Italian career with the western comedy Un dollaro di fifa/A Dollar of Funk (1960, Giorgio Simonelli), a spoof of Rio Bravo (1959, Howard Hawks), which also starred Ugo Tognazzi and Walter Chiari. She then appeared in a few peplums (sword and sandal films). Most notably was her winning performance as 'Queen of the Bird Men' in Ulisse contro Ercole/Ulysses Against Hercules (1962, Mario Caiano) starring Georges Marchal. Then she made a major impact as femme fatale in several spy films. She appeared in early German/Italian examples of the genre such as Heißer Hafen Hong Kong/Hong Kong Hot Harbor (1962, Jürgen Roland) with Marianne Koch, and Das geheimnis der chinesischen Nelke/The Secret of the Chinese Carnation (1964, Rudolf Zehetgruber) starring Paul Dahlke. In the latter she appeared as a voluptuous vamp in a deadly plot of three different groups of plotting agents. They all chase after a microfilm with a secret formula for a new rocket fuel. Then, she appeared opposite Giancarlo Giannini in his film debut, the interesting thriller Libido (1965, Ernesto Gastaldi, Vittorio Salerno). Boschero played another leading role in Furia in Marakech/Fury at Marrakesh (1966, Mino Loy, Luciano Martino). According to Tom Lisanti and Louis Paul, authors of the study Film Fatales, her ‘ultimate screen appearance’, was “her screen-stealing turn in the bizarre uninhibited wacky, wild and completely unbelievable secret agent-super hero hybrid” Come Rubare la Corona d’Inghilterra/Argoman the Fantastic Superman (1967, Sergio Grieco). Boschero at first appears as a seemingly lost and helpless woman who seduces Argoman (Roger Browne) and then turns out to be a mastermind villain. At the climax of the film, she sadistically tortures Argoman and tries to remove his magic powers permanently. At IMDb, reviewer Gulaq-2 writes: “A CAMP classic of maximum proportions, which ruled the world in the late sixties, conquering all the known B-movies markets”.

 

In the 1970’s, Dominique Boschero continued popping up in a few giallos, e.g. Chi l'ha vista morire?/Who Saw Her Die (1972, Aldo Lado) starring former James Bond George Lazenby, and Tutti i colori del buio/All the Colors of the Dark (1972, Sergio Martino) with George Hilton and Edwige Fenech. She also appeared in the spaghetti western Los buitres cavarán tu fosa/And the Crows Will Dig Your Grave (1972, Juan Bosch), the Italian-Belgian sex comedy Je suis une call-girl/I am a call-girl (1973, Jack Guy), and the horror film Il prato macchiato di rosso/The Bloodstained Lawn (1973, Riccardo Ghione) with Nino Castelnuovo. IMDb reviewer Babycarrot67 calls this horror film a guilty pleasure: “An obvious commentary on the rich and powerful exploiting the more unfortunate members of society, this film does not take itself very seriously, and most of the cast, especially Marina Malfatti as one of the aristocrats, appears to be having a good time. The film's claustrophobic atmosphere gives it just enough feeling of unease to make it a credible horror film, and the film's overall weirdness and eccentricity help it cross over the finish line of viewer satisfaction. This film could be the definition of a motion picture "guilty pleasure" although one should not feel guilty during the viewing.” . Boschero had a romance with Claudio Camaso (Claudio Volonté), the brother of actor Gianmaria Volonté. Camaso was involved with an alleged bomb in the Vatican. This scandal and her cursed relationship with the actor who eventually committed suicide in jail in 1977, slowed down her career. In 1974 Boschero retired from the cinema and withdrew to Frassino. She later would have a relation with the singer Franco Califano. In 1986 she returned on television in the soap series Passioni/Passions (1986, Riccardo Donna). Dominique Boschero lives in Frassino, North-West Italy, where she is involved in the investigation and preservation of the occitan language. From the end of the 1960’s she is interested in this subject after meeting François Fontan, founder of the Parti nationaliste occitan, and the poet Antonio Bodrero (Barba Toni Baudrier).

 

Sources: Tom Lisanti and Louis Paul (Film Fatales: women in espionage films and television, 1962-1973), European Film Review, Wikipedia (French and Italian) and IMDb.

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" The classic stars - particularly the glamorous ladies- of the motion pictures of Hollywood's Golden Age have been an enduring passion of mine since my early teens in the late1970s; and lead to much biographical research and inspiration for both my paintings and cartoon tributes.

 

This is the latest of several group cartoon tributes (many to be viewed on this site) that I have created; over several months - and through much research.

 

Here, on the sun-kissed contours of Mount Lee, crowned with the famous Hollywood Sign, high above Hollywood, California, USA, I have gathered together an eclectic group of actresses (most prominently active in Hollywood from the 1930s-1960s)- a vibrant mixture of well-known stars, from famous feature films and lesser-known players from B-movies (or second features).

 

Through extensive research I have depicted them - a group that undoubtably were never photographed together-as they appeared in various years during the 1970s - a decade that I remember with much affection. As with most of my cartoon tributes, the illustration features such details as my passion for birds. There follows some biographical trivia about each lady: I hope thay you enjoy viewing as much as I enjoyed creating..."

 

BARBARA NICHOLS (American, 1928-1976): in films from 1953-1975; including Sweet Smell of Success (US 1957) & Where The Boys Are (US 1960)- a blonde bombshell with talent- the actress was last on screen for less than a minute, reclining as Victure Mature's gangster moll in the all-star comedy Won Ton Ton The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (US 1975). She never married and died of a liver disease at 47.

 

AVA GARDNER (American, 1922-1990): in films from 1941-1986 - including The Barefoot Contessa (US 1954) & The Night of The Iguana (US 1964) - this star was named 'The world's most beautiful animal' by the publicity machine in the 1950s; and ended her days living quietly in Kensington, London, UK. The cartoon portrait was inspired by Ms Gardner's role in Earthquake (US 1974); in which she played a hard drinker - as she was in real life.

 

NATALIE WOOD (American/French/Russian, 1938-1981): in films from 1943-1981, driven by a stage-mother, this sensitive beauty made the successful transition from child star to adult star roles - Rebel Without A Cause (US 1954) , West Side Story (US 1961)- and ominously (considering her tragic death) played a woman who is saved from drowning in The Memory of Eva Ryker (US- TV, 1980). Her two daughters were the focus of her heart.

 

JEAN SEBERG (American/Swedish 1938-1979); In films from 1957-1976, this enigmatic beauty spent the last 20 years of her life living in Paris, France; the city in which she starred in A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) (FR 1959) - and for which she is most remembered; while her depth of talent especially shone in Lilith (US 1964). It was her heartfelt devotion to the welfare of people and animals and subsequent involvement in left-wing activism that led to the decline of her mental health and ultimate tragic death - which is shrouded in as much mystery as that of MARILYN MONROE (American, 1926-1962). Her son, Diego (1962-), by French author Romain Gary lives today in Spain.

 

EVE ARDEN (American, 1908-1990): In films from 1929-1982, this wonderful character actress played with great ease the wise-cracking dame with a heart of gold in such classics as Ziegfeld Girl (US 1941) & Mildred Pierce (US 1945); and later appeared in both Grease (US 1978) and Grease 2 (US 1982).

 

JOAN CRAWFORD (American, 1906-1977): In films from 1929-1970, a top box office star over nearly five decades- in which she shimmered in such diverse films as Mildred Pierce (US 1945)- for which she won an Academy Award- and later, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane ?(US 1964). The cartoon portrait was inspired by the star's last public appearance at a tribute evening to actress ROSALIND RUSSELL (1907-1976).

 

MARLENE DIETRICH (German, 1901-1992). In Films from 1928-1978; including Der Blaue Engel(The Blue Angel)(GER 1930) and A Foreign Affair (US 1948). This legendary actress and singer lived her last years in Paris, France, in seclusion; and while she rejected all enquiries from the press, she always answered her fan mail.

 

RITA HAYWORTH (American/Spanish, 1918-1987). In films from 1934-1972, this glorious (but privately shy) beauty lit up the screen in such features as Gilda (US 1946) and Miss Sadie Thompson (US 1954); and it was in the mid-1970s that she sadly began her decline into the tragic mists of Alzeimer's Disease - firstly mistaken as alcoholism- which claimed her life.

 

THE GABOR SISTERS (Hungarian: ZSA ZSA , 1917-; MAGDA, 1915-1997 & EVA, 1919-1995). Frivolously glamorous trio most remembered for their sparkling appearances in public and witty contributions to talk shows. Although Magda entertained on stage with her sisters, she never appeared in motion pictures; and went on to live many years after suffering a stroke in the late 1960s. Eva is most well-known for her star role in the US TV series Green Acres (1965-1970), than for any of her film roles. Feisty Zsa Zsa appeared in the most films- including Moulin Rouge (US 1952) & Queen of Outer Space (US 1958)- and lives today in Bel Air, CA, USA with her 8th husband. She was the only Gabor to deny ever having a face-lift.

 

VALDA HANSEN (American 1932-1993). In low budget films from 1958- 1975. Blonde beauty known in cult circles for her starring role in Edward D Wood Jr's Night of The Ghouls (US 1958); a film not released - & then on video tape- until 1981; as the broken film director could not afford to pay the laboratory develpoment bill. Ms Hansen went on to play in largely unseen B-movies. A deeply spiritual lady, she lost a battle with cancer and was afforded a Hindu ceremony.

 

ESTHER WILLIAMS (American, 1921-). In films from 1946-1963, including Million Dollar Mermaid (US 1952) & Dangerous When Wet (US 1953), this swimming star retired to become a successful business woman, aptly lending her name to swim wear and swimming pools. In 1974, she was arrested on the Hollywood Freeway for drink-driving; and 20 years later made a surprise screen comeback talking about her career in the celebration of MGM, That's Entertainment.

 

BETTY GRABLE (American, 1916-1973). In films from 1930-1955; including The Dolly Sisters (US 1945) & How To Marry A Millionaire (US 1953). A heavy smoker all her life she lost a battle with lung cancer at 56; and the cartoon portrait was inspired by her last public appearance in Hollywood, CA, USA.

 

LANA TURNER (American, 1921-1995). In films from 1937-1978; the archetypal 'movie star' - the epitome of Hollywood beauty and glamour - Ms Turner was inaccurately underrated as an actress; but her talent in such melodramas as The Postman Always Rings Twice (US 1946), Peyton Place (US 1957)- for which she was Oscar nominated as Best Actress- and Madame X (US 1966) proved otherwise. Married 8 times to 7 husbands, she had a turbulent private life, took to drink; before abstaining in 1980 and declaring her deep faith in God.

 

HEDY LAMARR (Austrian, 1914-2000). In films from 1933-1957; including Ziegfeld Girl (US 1941) & Samson & Delilah (US 1949). Aside from her raven-haired beauty, she was highly intelligent; and was credited with the invention of a radio guiding system for torpedoes which was used in World War II. In the cartoon portrait she takes the pose she held on stage in the film Ziegfeld Girl.

 

KARIN DOR (German, 1936-). In films from 1953-2006 , and most internationally known as the beautiful but deadly Helga Brandt in the James Bond classic, You Only Live Twice (UK 1967). She was married to the late Hollywood stuntman George Robotham , living in Los Angeles, USA until his death; and is still active in the theatre in Germany.

 

VIRGINIA MAYO (American, 1920-2005). In films from 1943-1990; including The secret Life of Walter Mitty (US 1947) and White Heat (US 1949). In the late1940s her blonde 'peaches and cream' beauty was described by the Sultan of Morocco as 'tangible proof for the existence of God'.

 

LORETTA KING (American, 1917-2007). In films from 1940-1976, this actress of beauty and talent worked mostly on stage and in television in the 1950s; before achieving cult fame as the lead in Edward D Wood Jr's low budget classic, Bride of The Monster (US 1955). She then retired from acting in 1960; before making a comeback in two 1970s films, including Johnny Tough (US 1973); which inspired this cartoon tribute.

 

DOLORES FULLER (American, 1923-) In films from 1934-2000, this actress appeared in minor roles during the 1950s; but by the 1980s achieved fame as the one time lover of cult film director, Edward D Wood Jr (1924-1978), when the director achieved postumous attention. She starred in his autobiographical film Glen or Glenda (US 1953); and in Ron Ormond's B-classic Mesa of Lost Women (US 1952). This was ironic, as her real talent lay in song writing - and she went on to write hit songs for Elvis Presley films; and to manage such singers as Tanya Tucker.

 

Ink & coloured pencil on paper, 11 x 17in

www.stephenbwhatley.com

   

Midtown, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States

 

240 Central Park South Apartments, built in 1939-40 to the design of Mayer & Whittlesey, is a significant and innovative complex that represents the transition between 1930s Art Deco style apartment towers with courtyards (characteristic of Central Park West) and post-World War II “modernist" apartment houses. It is notable for its modernist near-lack of applied ornament and sophisticated planning. As stated by Architectural Forum in 1941, “the architectural character of these buildings stems directly from the plans... and the fenestration.’' Constructed by the Mayer family's J.H. Taylor Construction Co. for the J.H. Taylor Management Corp.. it was one of Manhattan’s largest luxury apartment projects of its day.

 

The architects were particularly skillful in adapting their plan to a highly prominent and complex site, with frontages along Central Park South. Columbus Circle. Broadway and West 58th Street. The complex consists of a 20-story. C-shaped-in-plan building (with an 8-story tower), facing Central Park, connected by ground-story lobbies and rounded shopfronts (following the diagonal of Broadway) to a 15-story building to the south. Covering only about half of the lot. the buildings provided a maximum amount of light, air. quiet, and corner apartments, which featured cantilevered balconies and views (many of Central Park). Landscaped open space included the entrance court, centra! courtyard and adjacent shops' rooftops, and roof terraces atop both buildings. Clad in an orangish-coiored brick, the buildings were detailed with broad steel-casement windows and the contrasting concrete of the balcony slabs. Amedee Ozenfanf s mosaic “The Quiet City" decorates the front entrance, while rooftop vertical architectural elements enliven the skyline. 240 Central Park South Apartments was marketed with an explicit suburban appeal, and the slogan "Where the Park is Part of the Plan." at a time when Manhattan was losing population to the outer boroughs and suburbs.

 

Lewis Mumford. in The New Yorker in 1940. praised its “ingenious” planning solution, while Architectural Forum called it "one of the best apartment buildings vet produced." Mayer & Whittlesey, founded in 1935 (Mayer, Whittlesey & Glass after 1945). was noted for planning and apartment housing, such as Manhattan Housed 950-51, with Skidmore, Owings& Merrill).

 

DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS

 

The Mavcr Family and J.H. Tavlor Construction Co./J.H Taylor Management Corp. 1

 

By the late 1930s, the J.H Taylor Construction Co. and J.H. Taylor Management Corp. had built, owned, and managed a number of large apartment buildings in New York City. Associated with these firms were members of the prominent German-Jewish Mayer family, who individually and collectively had a long involvement in New York real estate through their activities in architecture, engineering, construction, management, investment, and ownership through various corporate entities. Bernhard Mayer (1852-1929), son of Mayer and Fannie Mayer, was bom in Altdorf, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1872. He became a principal in the real estate firm of [LazarusJ Weil & Mayer, with his brother-in-law. Mayer left an estate worth over $2.5 million which, after charitable donations, was left to family members, principally his widow' Sophia Buttenwieser Mayer (1860-1945) and their six children.

 

All three male Mayer siblings were active in real estate and construction, while two sisters also achieved prominence.2 Joseph L.B. Mayer (1885-1939), a real estate agent specializing in Park Avenue properties, w'as an officer and director of the Gruenstein & Mayer Corp., and an officer of the corporations for 875. 1040, and 1069 Park Avenue and 205 East 69lh Street.3 Charles Mayer (1888-1980). a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in civil engineering and a master's degree in engineering (1909). became chief engineer in the construction of apartment and office buildings through his J.H. Taylor Construction Co. (founded 1913),4 as well as a consulting engineer on such projects as Lewisohn Stadium (1915. Arnold W. Brunner; demolished). City College. He also served as president of the J.H Taylor Management Corp. (formed in 1931). Albert Mayer (1897-1981) received a degree in civil engineering from M.I.T. (1919), worked for Charles (1919-35) and was a principal partner in the J.H. Taylor Construction Co. He was one of the architects of the 240 Central Park South Apartments [see belowl. Their sister. Fannie Mayer, married William Kom (1884-1972). who became president of the J.H Taylor Management Corp. and J.H. Taylor Construction Co. Among the J.H. Taylor Construction Co.'s projects were the Jewish Hospital addition (1922-23). Brooklyn; 40 Central Park South Apartments (1941); Lebanon Hospital (1942), the Bronx; and the office building at 1407 Broadway (1950. Kahn & Jacobs).

 

Clara Woollie Mayer (1895-1988). a graduate of Barnard College (1915). did graduate work at Columbia University in 1915-19. and became a student at the New School for Social Research in 1919. She helped to organize a student committee in 1922 to raise funds to assist the school’s then precarious financial situation. A

 

history of the New School states that she Urecruited her mother and several brothers and sisters to the school’s cause. Over the next fifty years only [director] Alvin Johnson played a more important part in the life of the New School.Clara Mayer was appointed a trustee on the school’s board of directors (1924-30), was secretary to the board (1931-46), assistant director of the New School (1931-36), associate director (1937-43), dean of the School of Philosophy and Liberal Arts (1943-60), vice president (1950-62), and dean of the New School (1960-62). The Mayer family contributed $100,000 towards the new building for the New School (1929-31, Joseph Urban). Her brothers’ J.H. Taylor Construction Co. was recruited to construct the building at low cost, and Charles and Albert have been credited with recommending Urban as architect.6 The famous New School auditorium was originally dedicated to the memory of their father. Bernhard Mayer.7 In 1956-59. the Mayer family contributed to the expansion of the New' School, which was designed by Albert Mayer's firm.8

 

Mayer & Whittlesey. Architects

 

Albert Mayer, after working for his brother Charles in construction and engineering, became a registered architect and in 1935 established the firm of Mayer & [Julian H.J Whittlesey, which specialized in the design of apartment buildings. Mayer was well known as a planner and housing consultant in the United States and abroad from the 1930s on. He was a member of the Regional Planning Association of America (1930-33) which influenced the creation of the Greenbelt towns project, and was a founder, with Henry Wright and Lewis Mumford. of the Housing Study Guild (1933) which made recommendations on public housing and advocated large, planned projects, leading to the creation of the U.S. Housing Authonty in 1937. Mayer received the apartment house award from the New York Chapter, American Institute of Architects (A.I.A) in 1941 for Thomeycroft Homes, Forest Hills, Queens, and participated in the design of the Ft. Greene Houses (1942-44. w'ith Clarence Stein, Rosario Candela, Wallace K. Harrison, Ely Jacques Kahn, Andre Fouilhoux, etc.), Brooklyn, for the New York City Housing Authonty. During World War 11, Mayer served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the construction of airfields, and his meeting of Jawaharlal Nehru led to a number of commissions in India, including a pilot development project for rural villages (1947 on) and the original master plan for Chandigarh, India (1950, with Matthew Nowicki).10 Mayer was an advocate for the rational planning of new towns, which included Kitimat, British Columbia (1951-56, with Clarence Stein). He retired from active architectural practice in 1961, but continued work as a housing consultant and as a professor, and was author of The Urgent Future (1967), in which he discussed his planning philosophies.

 

Julian Hill Whittlesey (1905-1995), bom in Greenwich, Connecticut, was educated in architecture and civil engineering at Yale University, and studied at the Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts, France, and the American School of Classical Studies. Athens. Like Mayer, he was interested in housing issues, and he worked as a consultant to the Resettlement Administration in the 1930s, as an advisor to the U.S. Public Housing Administration, and during World War II designed offices and housing for the military. Whittlesey participated in the design of the James Weldon Johnson Houses (1947-48, with Harry M. Prince and Robert J. Reiley), Park Avenue and East 112,h-1151’' Streets, and the Colonial Park Houses (1951. with Prince and Reiley). He also served as a consultant to the Baltimore and Yonkers Housing Authorities. In the 1960s. he worked as an archaeologist.

 

Mayer & Whittlesey and its successor firms were responsible for the design of a number of notable New York City apartment houses. The innovative 240 Central Park South Apartments (1939-40), an early commission, was built by the J.H. Taylor Construction Co. for the J.H. Taylor Management Corp. It was followed by the 22-story 40 Central Park South Apartments (1941), built by J.H. Taylor Construction Co. for Mayer family relative L. V ictor Weil. In 1945, Mayer & Whittlesey became Mayer, Whittlesey & IM. Milton] Glass. Glass (1906-1993), educated at City College, Columbia and New York Universities, and the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, worked as a draftsman in a number of architectural offices prior to joining Mayer & Whittlesey, where he was head draftsman in 1940-45. Mayer. Whittlesey & Glass designed the noted 20-story Manhattan House (1950-51, with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), 200 East 66tM Street, lor the New York Life Insurance Co., which employed the innovations and amenities of 240 Central Park South Apartments on a full-block scale. William J. Conklin (b. 1923) joined Mayer, Whittlesey & Glass in 1951 and became associate partner in charge of design in 1958. The firm was also joined by James S. Rossant. Mayer, Whittlesey & Glass received the medal of honor for large-scale housing and city planning, and an apartment house award, from the New York Chapter, A.I.A. in 1952. The firm designed 220 Central Park South Apartments (1954); New School for Social Research additions (Kaplan and List Buildings)( 1956-59, Conklin in charge of design), 66 West 12lh Street; Butterfield House (1959-62. Conklin and Rossant in charge of design), 37 West 12lh Street;11 Painting Industry Welfare Building (1960. Conklin in charge of design), 45 West 14"’ Street, featunng a glass curtain wall overlaid with a bronze screen; Gala East Harlem Plaza (1960) at the Jefferson Houses. First Avenue and 112th-115U| Streets; and the Premier (1960-63, Conklin in charge of design), 333 East 69th Street. Mayer. Whittlesey & Glass was dissolved in 1961.

 

The firm of Whittlesey & Conklin was formed in 1961 (Whittlesey, Conklin & Rossant after 1965); it developed the master plan for the new town of Reston, Virginia (1962-69). Conklin & Rossant, its successor firm, was established in 1967. Milton Glass began his own firm in 1961 that became Glass & (Elliott M.] Glass in 1966.

 

Columbus Circle and Central Park South

 

Columbus Circle was created at junction of Broadway, Eighth Avenue/Central Park West and West 59th Street (Central Park South). In 1868-71. Broadway had been widened and planted north of 59th Street, becoming known as “the Boulevard,” and by 1870, land was acquired for grander southern comer entrances to Central Park (designed in 1858 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux).n The Plaza was created at Fifth Avenue and “the Circle" was established at Eighth Avenue. Maps of Central Park from this period indicate that the Circle was intended to have a sculptural focus. The Ladies Pavilion (1871, Vaux & Mould) was originally located at the park's southwest comer at the Circle. “Columbus Circle” came into being in 1892 w>hen the Columbus monument (Gaetano Russo, sculptor) was installed. The Ladies Pavilion was moved into the park and the comer came to be dominated by the Maine Monument (1901-13, Attilio Piccirilli, sculptor; A. Van Buren Magonigle, architect).

 

Central Park South has someli mes been referred to as a “gold coast" of Manhattan due to its advantageous location, facing the south end of Central Park, and the presence of luxurious hotels and apartment houses. In the early 1870s, town houses and mansions for New York's elite began to be constructed along Fifth Avenue and the adjacent blocks of the West 50s. Nearby West 57th Street, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, has had a distinguished history as a center of the arts and music for over a century. Central Park South, first fully developed in the 1870s-80s, has from the beginning attracted a mix of hotels, residential structures, and institutions, as indicated on Robinson’s A tlas of the City of New York of 1885. Among the more notable were the Fifth Avenue Plaza Hotel (begun by Fife & Campbell; 1888-91, McKim, Mead & White), No. 2; the Hawthorne (1883, Hubert & Pirsson), No. 128; and Central Park Apartments (“Spanish Flats” or “the Navarro”) (1881-83, Hubert & Pirsson), a complex of eight buildings at Nos. 150-180 (all now demolished).

 

In 1885, a law was enacted to limit the height of all new residential construction in New York City to a height of 80 feet (six stones), but hotels and residential hotels were exempted because they were considered commercial properties. Central Park South thus continued to attract such structures. New buildings and institutions along the street at the turn of the century, some by prestigious architects, included the Plaza Hotel (1905-07, Henry J. Hardenbergh), No. 2, one of the world’s great luxury hotels; New York Athletic Club (1899, William A. Cable; demolished), No. 56; Deutscher Verein (German Club)( 1839-91. McKim, Mead & White; demolis' i), No. 112; Catholic Club (1891-92, William Schickt i Co.; demolished), No. 120; and Gainsborough Studios (1907-08, Charles W. Buckham), No. 222, which provided studios and apartments for artists.

 

During the period between the two world wars, many new hotels and apartments were constructed: No. 100 (1916-18, Schwartz & Gross); Plaza Hotel addition (1921, Warren & Wetmore); No. 126-130(1924-25, Schwartz & Gross); the Navarro (1925, J.E.R. Carpenter), No. 112; New York Athletic Club (1927-29, York & Sawyer), No. 180; Barbizon Plaza (1928-30, Lawrence Emmons, with Murgatroyd & Ogden), No. 106; Hampshire House (1927-29; 1931-38. Caughey & Evans), No. 150; Essex House (1929-30, Frank Grad). No. 160-170; Hotel St. Moritz (1929-30. Emery Roth), No. 56; No. 226-230 (1937-38, J.M. Felson); 240 Central Park South Apartments (1939-40); No. 40 (1941); and No. 120 (1941. H.l. Feldman).

 

240 Central Park South Apartments

 

In May 1939, a nearly one-acre site at one of the most visible locations in Manhattan, the entire blockfront along Broadway and Columbus Circle between West 58th and 59"' Streets (across from the southwest comer of Central Park), was purchased by 240 Central Park South. Inc., an entity of the J.H Taylor Management Corp. This site, once seventeen lots, had been assembled between 1881 and 1908 by George Ehret (1835-1927), a German-born brewer. An immigrant to the United States in 1857, Ehret had worked in the Roemelt & Co. (later Hupfel's) Brewery, becoming foreman, prior to establishing his own Hell Gate Brewery in 186 His enormous profits, which were invested in real estate led the New York Times to comment at his death that he “was said at one time to be the largest holder of real estate in New York City” after the Estate of John Jacob Astor. This property, one of only two vacant blockfronts along Broadway between Times Square and Columbus Circle.17 was transferred to the George Ehret Columbus Circle Corp. in April 1927. Apparently initially intended for a roadhouse or hotel it was developed with a large U-shaped, two-story Mission Revival style building that was used for used for automobile-related businesses (with large advertising signs on top).19 The building that had formerly housed Fire Engine Co. No. 23 (by 1885). 233 West 58"' Street, was next-door and aiso part of the assembled site.

 

Mayer & Whittlesey filed plans for an apartment building, expected to cost $1.6 million, in July 1939. According to the Real Estate Record & Guide. 240 Central Park South Apartments was intended as “a permanent headliner of the J.H Taylor Management Corporation's service, and not as a speculative venture.”20 Construction began in September and was completed, in just over a year, in September 1940. The final cost was $4.5 million.21 As built, the project, culled by the New York Herald Tribune “the largest [apartment house] now in construction in Manhattan.”22 was actually two buildings, joined at the ground story, that overlooked a central landscaped courtyard and covered only about half the site. The Real Estate Record commented that “this is probably the lowest land coverage in the city for an apartment project of this size. By sacrificing ground coverage, the builders have been able to incorporate a maximum number of comer suites.”23 The northern building facing Central Park is twenty stories in height, with an eight-story (plus tank house) tower, and is roughly C-shaped in plan around an entrance court. The southern building is fifteen stories. The architects were particularly skillful in adapting their plan to the highly prominent and complex site, and incorporated shops along Columbus Circle/Broadway into the project.

 

The architects said of the design process, “We had what amounted to a design board consisting of the architects, the owner, operating manager, the rental agent and the builder, together with such engineers as might have to be called in from time to time,”24 whose viewpoints and expertise were merged into “agreed decisions" which aimed to take into account factors of economy, progressive planning, and civic-minded architecture. After several schemes were proposed, the two-building solution was adopted and the building heights determined in large part due to elevator requirements. The Multiple Dwelling Law of 1929 had permitted the mechanical venting of public spaces, bathrooms, and kitchens in apartment buildings, resulting in the creation of a new apartment house type in Manhattan that combined the planning aspects of earlier mid-rise courtyard apartment buildings with tall towers. Examples of this type are the San Remo (1929-30, Emery Roth), the Majestic (1930-31. Irwin S. Chanin). and the Century (1931. Chanin). at 145-146. 115. and 25 Central Park West,25 and River House (1931-32. Bottomley, Wagner & White), 435 East 52nd Street. Architect-historian Robert A.M. Stem has stated that “after the collapse of the real-estate market in the Depression, the type was never again seriously pursued, except at 240 Central Park South, which despite the limitations of its courtyard remains a paradigm of the contextually responsible high-rise apartment in Manhattan.”

 

The buildings, clad in an orangish-colored brick, were constructed with steel-skeleton framing (produced by the Bethlehem Steel Corp.) set on reinforced concrete footings, with concrete-slab floors set between fireproofed steel beams. The open space of the complex, called by Buildings & Building Management “one of the most ingenious landscaping programs ever seen in New York.” was done under the supervision of landscape architects Cynthia Wiley and Eleanor Robertson Paepcke. Included in the overall landscaped open space scheme were the northern entrance court; off-street loading area and planting bed along 58th Street; gardens on the ground-story shops’ roofs and central court; a ground-floor conservatory, with a curved glass wall, connecting the lobbies of the two buildings and overlooking the interior gardens; a roof garden on the purposely-lower southern building; and roof terraces on the 2011' story of the northern building.

 

In terms of exterior architectural expression, 240 Central Park South Apartments represents a transition between the usage of the Art Deco, Art Modeme, and Modem Classical styles for New York apartments houses throughout the 1930s and post-World War II “modernism.” According to the New York Herald Tribune, “the architects conceived the idea while studying architecture in Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Vienna.”29 Albert Mayer was quoted on the project's modernist and functionalist aspects:

 

This building will introduce the philosophy of modern architecture, allowing the purpose of the structure and its location to dictate its style. New York has seen great strides in the design of business buildings, where such requirements as entire floors of space have dictated broad bands of windows, but until now little progress has been made in letting the comforts and requirements of the private home guide us in planning large apartment buildings. 30 Architectural Forum further stated on its modernism that The architectural character of these buildings stems directly from the plans as developed on different levels, and the fenestration. There is no applied “architecture. ” The exterior walls are flush, of a brick somewhat darker than the white concrete balcony slabs, whose sharp alternation of light and shadow constitutes the main decorative element of the exterior. 31 While there had been examples of fully modernist apartment buildings in Manhattan, such as the Beaux-Arts Apartments (1929-30. Kenneth M. Murchison and Raymond Hood), 307 and 310 East 44m Street, and Rockefeller Apartments (1935-37, Harrison & Fouilhoux). 17 West 54’" Street and 24 West 55"' Street,32 the modernist architectural approach was more typically seen during this period in public housing projects, garden apartments, and larger planned developments throughout the city.33 240 Central Park South Apartments is an unusual and innovative highrise luxury apartment complex in Manhattan, notable for its architecture, planning, and response to its urban site.

 

The retail shops along the Columbus Circle/Broadway side of the complcx include rounded storefronts staggered along the diagonal property line, adding a nearly Art Moderne style touch to the complex. According to Mayer “in this manner a new maximum in display value will be achieved through architectural beauty instead of at the expense of it. Each shop will enjoy many of the advantages of a comer location.” The main entrance court and Central Park South facade were embellished by a number of features: a glass-fronted lobby and entrance; a blue-grey extruded terra-cotta-block wall along the western side of the court: and the work of “collaborating artists,” according to Architectural Forum,35 apparently a reference to both the abstract mosaic mural entitled “The Quiet City” by Amedee Ozenfant3{l and ceramic plaques (no longer extant) on the Central Park South restaurant facade to the east of the court. An orange extruded terra-cotta-block entrance enframement and green tile inset planter decorate the 58U| Street facade of the southern building. Rooftop vertical architectural elements, such as water tower enclosure, chimneys, and wing walls, enliven the skyline.

 

240 Central Park South Apartments was planned with 326 apartments, ranging in size from one to four rooms. A large number of the apartments face Central Park, while the rest also have views due to the overall layout of the complex. The amenities offered were a mixture of those found in a traditional apartment house with those of an apartment hotel. A restaurant was located on the ground floor facing onto the entrance court. There was interior lobby access to the shops. An off-street loading area along 58Ul Street, partially covered by a roof, allowed for the transfer of goods by a hand truck ramp leading directly into the basement.

 

There were four passenger and two service elevators. Cantilevered balconies (averaging eight feet square) were provided for about 100 apartments above the seventh story facing Central Park and above the tenth or twelfth story in the southern sections of the project. Cantilevered comer windows and wide steel casement windows (in many locations the width of the room) allowed for a maximum of light and air. Most apartments above the sixth story had wood-burning fireplaces. Maid service was available and servants’ lavatories and separate service halls were located on each floor; workrooms, storage rooms, and laundry facilities were provided in the basement. A solarium/recreation room was located on the 20dl story of the northern building. Construction included special sound insulation (including elevators) and insulation against heat from boilers, etc. An independent generating plant provided power for the complex, while a hot water heating system was “the first plant of this type ever introduced in a tower apartment house.”37

 

The marketing appeal of 240 Central Park South Apartments was explicitly suburban. Buildings & Building Management pointed out that the J.H. Taylor Management Corp. was well aware that Manhattan had lost a population of 650,000 over the preceding two-and-a-half decades to the outer boroughs and suburbs.38 In its prospectus and advertising, J.H. Taylor used the slogan “Where the Park is Part of the Plan” in recognition of its site facing Central Park, the project’s own landscaped open space, and the prospective residents’ “wide-spread enthusiasm for out-of-doors life, fresh air, sunshine and vistas of green lawns and trees.”39 Architectural Forum commented that

 

The architects... had formulated certain ideas -and actual plans — as to how people might live and would want to live, if they preferred to live in the inner city, rather than in the suburbs, or if they could be convinced that the city had something less stony and court-yardy to offer than the inner cores of our cities have generally known. Their ideas... included the romantic vistas that our cities afford, but usually give only to the top few floors of their tallest buildings. They included a pattern of gardens, of open-air dining, of solariums, not only for the few fantastically pricedpent-houses and terraces, but for all who decided to live in their buildings. And also an intimation of these, a sense of greenery and openness and refreshment even to passers-by. 40

 

A special mail campaign and newspaper advertisements were particularly successful in attracting tenants. The building was over twenty-five percent rented by May 1940, and was seventy percent rented by August. Starting rents were about $550 a room.

 

Critical Response

 

240 Central Park South Apartments, though not widely noted in the architectural press at the time of its construction (possibly due to the timing between the end of the Depression and World War II), was featured in three notable publications. Lewis Mumford, in The New Yorker in December 1940, opined that

 

The new apartment house... shows that in single projects... the architectural imagination has not gone stale. This one seems to me, at least in form, the finest in its class that has been put up since the Rockefeller apartments, and its interior plan is, I think, superior to theirs. ... The architects... had a very teasing problem. The plot is irregular... Their solution was an ingenious one, which gives the living quarters of their buildings the maximum possible light, air, and quiet. ... the ingenuity of the solution lies in the fact that only the western flanks of these two buildings abut on noisy, raucous Broadway. 41 Mumford additionally admired the “very pleasant orangey back” of the buildings, the breadth of the apartment windows, the extensive use of balconies, the openness of the glass-fronted main entrance, and the Broadway shopfronts, and wrote that “in the difficult matter of terminating a high building, the architects again, by the simplest means, have scored a real success.” The apartment complex was included in the Museum of Modem Art’s Guide to Modern Architecture of 1940 which called it “a conscientious restudying of the apartment house problem, with particular attention to light, air, and view.”43 It was also praised in May 1941 in Architectural Forum:

 

It show s a host of improvements which taken together add up to one of the best apartment buildings yet produced. ... the plan... shows an admirably worked out scheme fora difficult site.

 

The solution is notable for the skill with which a maximum number of rooms have been given a view of the park, and for the flexibility with which various types of living units have been fitted into a standardized structural layout. 44 The complex has been singled out in more recent criticism. Architectural critic Paul Goldberger in the New York Times in 1977 listed the building among “The City's Top 10 [Luxury] Apartment Buildings,” stating that this often-overlooked building at the edge of Columbus Circle contains not only good apartments, but also some splendid urban lessons. ... The apartment house is thoughtful, intelligent, and unpretentious throughout - one of the last pieces of luxury housing in New York about which that can be said. 45 Goldberger further lauded the building in The City Observed: New York (1979):

 

[Central Park South’s j last building is one of its very finest, No. 240... Here, urbanistic concerns were paramount... a complex form consisting of a pair of towers atop a zigzag, garden-topped base was used. The base brings variety to storefronts and rhythm to the building's Columbus Circle facade; the overall massing emphasizes park views and brings individuality to apartment layouts. It is a remarkably sophisticated design, substantially ahead of its time in its knowing response to a difficult urban site. 4(1

 

Robert A.M. Stem wrote in an article in 1980 that 240 Central Park South comes at the point when the transition between traditional and modernist styles strongly affected American practice and produced a number of interesting buildings which, because of the ideological positions the shift forced architects and critics alike to take, have been largely overlooked. 47 Stem later observed in New York 1930 (1987) that It was not its bland facades that lent 240 Central Park South distinction but rather the shaping of the two towers, particularly the northern one, in response to the complex perimeter of the site. Aspects of the courtyard apartment building were combined with those of the skyscraper apartment building to establish both a horizontal and vertical reflection of the city's composition. Terraces began only above the

 

level of the trees in Central Park (high enough to be free of the fumes of the street); roofs were set back not only to conform to zoning requirements but also in consideration of solar orientation and views; and chimneys and mechanical equipment combined with the penthouse suites to produce a lively skyline. At the street level the building respected the varied nature of its locale: a deep, planted courtyard on Central Park South created an elegant pocket of shade, while a vigorous one-story commercial strip along Broadway used curved corners to define the diagonal of the street. The building succeeded... as an exemplar of humane values applied to the problem of high-density city living and as a finely tuned instrument of urbanism. 4S

 

Later History' of 240 Central Park South 49

 

240 Central Park South. Inc., original owner of the property, sold it in May 1976 to Central Park South Associates, an entity of Sarah Korein, a New York real estate mogul known for choice Manhattan properties. Sarah Rabinowitz (c. 1905-1998). born in Germany and raised in Palestine, married Isidor Korein, a Hungarian engineer, and immigrated to New York City in 1923. After the purchase of two apartment buildings in Brooklyn in 1931 and 1941, she entered the Manhattan real estate market after the war with the purchase of 715 Park Avenue. She later bought and sold the Osborne Apartments, the Beresford. Croyden Hotel, Fifth Avenue Hotel, and Schwab House Apartments, and owned the land and/or buildings at Lever House, Equitable Building. 1 Penn Plaza. Delmonico Hotel, Swiss Center, and 220 and 240 Central Park South Apartments.

 

Among the building’s many residents over the years have been Antoine de Saint-Exupery {1941-). later author of The Little Prince (1943); actress Sylvia Miles (since 1968); Albert Mayer (c. 1975 to his death in 1981); Claru Mayer (c. 1975-86); and the fictive Lois Lane in the movie Superman (1978). Directories list an office of the J.H. Taylor Management Corp. here from 1940 to the 1980s.

 

Description

 

240 Central Park South Apartments consists of two buildings, connected at the ground story, overlooking a central landscaped courtyard. The northern building along Centra! Park South is roughly C-shaped in plan around a planted entrance court and is twenty stones in height with an eight-story (plus tank house) lower. The southern building along West 58th Street is fifteen stories. Both buildings are steel-skeleton-framed and faced in orangish Belden Stark brick, with slate sills and concrete cantilevered balconies with original metal railings. A restaurant has been located in the ground-story space east of the entrance court. Retail shops are located on the west

 

side of the entrance court and on the Columbus Circle/Broadway side of the buildings, some with rounded storefronts staggered along the diagonal of the property line. The shops' roofs comprise part of the central courtyard and entrance court. The majority of the original Fenwrought steel casement windows (cantilevered at the comers) survive, mainly in two configurations: 1) central fixed single pane, flanked by casements with upper and lower fixed panes 2) casements with upper and lower fixed panes. Some windows have been replaced. There are also some smaller one- and two-pane windows. Brick replacement, repair, and coating in recent years has resulted in a variety of brick colors.

 

Central Park South Building The northern building of the complex is twenty stones in height, with an eight* story (plus tank house) tower, and is roughly C-shaped in plan around an entrance court [see below'], with a southern wing. A restaurant has been located in the ground-story space cast of the entrance court. Histonc bnck window enframements (with slightly recessed brick) survive, though original ceramic decorative plaques have been removed from the piers. There were originally four bays of windows along Central Park South (with tripartite windows with tripartite transoms, except that at the eastern end. which was bipartite); the comer by the entrance court was originally a glass-fronted inset restaurant entrance with a terra-cotta comer column supporting a slightly projecting shelf canopy. There are currently four large non-historic, single-pane windows with metal surrounds set within the historic enframements and altered former restaurant entrance comer; an entrance with non-historic revolving door and metal-and-glass door was inserted in the second bay from the eastern end (it has a non-histonc canopy). The windows have non-historic awnings. The retail shops located on the west side of the building begin at the west side of the entrance court [see below].

 

There is brick patterning on the lower portions (second to fourth stories) of the northern facades of the two wings. An abstract mosaic mural (“The Quiet City.” by Amedee Ozenfant) is located over the entrance, in two panels above and below the third story. Cantilevered balconies are placed above the seventh story on comers facing Central Park, and above the twelfth story on comers of the southern facade. There are comer windows where there are not balconies, except on the southern wing. The eastern wall of the building is set back from the side lot line above the ground story (which is surmounted by a terrace with its original metal railing); the wall is pierced by window's.

 

The 20“' story has penthouses, the original solan urn/recreation room, and three roof terraces (including one to the south), the eastern one having a pergola. The tower (2P‘ to 28"‘ stones plus tank house) has balconies on the 22"d to 26ll‘ stones of the northern

 

facade; comer terraces on the 27th story of the northern facade; and tank house surmounted by a roofed terrace (now enclosed). The northern facade of the tank house portion of the lower has windows divided by pilasters clad in blue-gray extruded terra-cotta blocks (the lower portion of the east pilaster has been replaced by bntt.). Roofs have chimneys, wing walls, bulkheads, and stairs. Entrance Court The entrance court has a concrete sidewalk leading to the entrance with low retaining walls with aggregate concrete coping, one stone-clad entrance post, tile and flagstone paving to the east with a tree pit and small planting beds, and a planting bed to the west. The original iron railing (lined on the interior with a planting strip) borders the court along the Central Park South sidewalk and is set on a base (now clad in flagstone); the railing originally ended at the entrance area leading to the restaurant, but now extends to the east. A long non-historic entrance canopy extending to the Central Park South sidewalk and non-historic lamp standards have been placed in the court.

 

The original curved one-story bnck-clad entrance pavilion has large fixed panes with transoms and an inset entrance with non-historic double aluminum and glass doors, surmounted by a projecting roof that extends to the east as a canopy, which is supported by a pole. The west wall of the entrance court is clad in blue-gray extruded terra-cotta blocks ( by Atlantic Terra Cotta Co.); this wall was later pierced by two windows. This wall enclosed a one-story shop to the west; the shop is surmounted by a terrace that is bordered on the east and north by the original metal railing. The east wall of the court currently has three non-historic single-pane windows with awnings and an historic three-pane window with tripartite transom at the southeast comer of the court.

 

Shopfronts: Central Park South and Columbus Circle/Broadway Retail shops are located on the western side of the complex, beginning at the comer of Central Park South and continuing along the Columbus Circle/Broadway side of the buildings. Four one-story bays have rounded storefronts staggered along the diagonal of the property line. All of the shopfronts originally had a continuous black signband above a continuous metal band above black-painted glass signbands in the transoms of the shopfronts. The shops' roofs comprised part of the landscaped central courtyard. From north to south:

 

1)The shop on the west side of the entrance court was originally entered through the lobby interior. It was later combined with two shops to the west. The shop at the comer of Central Park South and Columbus Circle has a recessed inset comer entrance (with the building cantilevered over it). Recent shopfront alterations include new brick facing and (in bays east to west on Central Park South): a louver and a metal door with parged transom area: two double-pane windows with anodized aluminum framing; and two triple-pane windows with anodized

 

aluminum framing. The comer entrance has anodized aluminum and glass double doors with a transom and sidelights. The recent brick facing continues on the staggered Columbus Circle/Broadway side, which has multi-pane winaows with anodized aluminum framing. A non-historic awning extends around the comer.

 

2)The shop in the center of the Central Park South building has an inset entrance with a painted metal and glass door and transom, flanked on the north by a glass comer shopfront window and on the south by a projecting glass shopfront window with painted metal framing (both without transoms) set above a brick-and-glassblock bulkhead, and a black glass signband,.

 

3)The shop in the south end of the Central Park South building has an inset entrance with an aluminum and glass door and transom, flanked by projecting glass shopfronts with aluminum framing (without transoms) set above a granite bulkhead. It has a non-historic awning.

 

4)The rounded shopfront has metal window framing (in its original configuration but without a transom) set above its historic brick bulkhead (now painted) with its original openings (formerly windows, now vents), and a non-histonc aluminum door and awning. The shopfront originally had a metal railing above slate coping; there is currently a metal-spike security fence.

 

5)The rounded shopfront has later metal window frami ng (without a transom) set above its historic brick bulkhead with original openings (formerly windows, now vents; the southern one is covered), and a non-histonc aluminum and glass door, awning, and rolldown gates. The shopfront originally had a metal railing above slate coping; there is currently a metal-spike security fence.

 

6)The two northern bays of the southernmost shop are rounded shopfronts with original metal window framing with transoms set above their historic brick bulkheads with original openings (formerly windows, now vents and covered by signs). The portion of the shop in the 58Ul Street building has an angled shopfront with metal framing in its original configuration with transoms set above its historic bnck bulkhead with signs placed in original window openings, and has anodized aluminum and glass entrance doors and transom. The southern piers are covered with painted sheet metal. The rounded bays originally had a metal railing above slate coping; there is currently a metal-spike security fence. The entire shopfront has a continuous non-historic awning.

 

West 58th Street Building The southern building of the complex is fifteen stories in height and is a slightly irregular slab in form. The lobby entrance on 58lh Street has an enframement of orange extruded terra-cotta blocks (by the Atlantic Terra Cotta Co.) (a portion to the east of the entrance has been pierced by an air conditioner, with a brick surround); original signage “235 W 58" and “240 CPS”; and non-historic anodized aluminum and glass doors and box awning. To the west of the lobby entrance is an original glazed green tile inset planter; a doctors’ sign plaque above the planter (in its historic location); and a row of small single-pane windows. To the east of the lobby entrance, multi-pane windows flank an inset office entrance, with a wood and glass door, brick steps, and non-historic iron gate. The ground story is capped by brick patterning.

 

Cantilevered balconies are placed above the tenth story. There are comer windows where there are not balconies. The roof has a garden, a pergola at the west end, and bulkheads.

 

Central Courtyard The central courtyard consists of the area between the Central Park South and 58th Street buildings, as well as the roofs of the one-story shops along Columbus Circle/Broadway. Atop the shops there were originally three raised planting beds, with brick retaining walls. The curved glass wall of the ground-story conservatory (connecting the lobbies of the two buildings) overlooks the courtyard on the west side. The eastern portion of the courtyard is divided by the submerged (zigzag in plan) hand truck ramp (bordered by brick walls) leading to the basement from the off-street loading area on 58"’ Street. To the east of the ramp is a planting bed. and to the west was originally a roughly T-shaped planting bed and two small circular planting beds, both raised with bnck retaining walls. Paths had gravel paving. Portions of the original landscaping scheme survive.

 

58th Street Off-Street Loading Area, Service Entrance, and Planting Bed Off of 58lh Street are a number of original features: a loading area for two trucks, paved with concrete and partially covered by a canopy roof enclosed on the north by a brick wall with metal gates; a brick post at the east end of the loading area at the sidewalk; a service entrance sidewalk with two brick entrance posts of different heights at the street end; and an L-shaped raised planting bed bordered by a brick retaining wall. There was originally a planting strip between the retaining wall and the street sidewalk. Original sidewalk and loading area gates have been removed. This entire area is currently enclosed by non-historic rolldown gates and chainlink fencing; there is also chainlink fencing along the east side of the service entrance sidewalk and above the loading area canopy roof.

 

- From the 2002 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report

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INDAH - presenting SS16 collection during Swim Week in South Beach Miami at W Hotel 7/2015

 

WEBSITE LINK: INDAH SWIM

FACEBOOK LINK: INDAH CLOTHING

 

YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE HIGHLIGHTS (0:49)

DAILYMOTION VIDEO OF THE FULL SHOW (16:04)

 

On Sunday, July 19th, 2015, over 500 guests including top media, influencers and buyers, attended the WET Lounge, at the W South Beach, to experience a rocking runway show. Indah debuted its 2016 collection, Collage, during SWIMMIAMI. By definition a collage is assembling different elements to create a new whole, and the designer, Libby Desantis, showcased her new vision with various looks inspired by different eras: 20’s art deco, 70’s punk rock, layered with 80’s glam and 90’s minimalism. Collaborating with artist, Anya Brock, Indah’s color palette is drawn from an abstract painting. Pops of painterly prints and bright hues are contrasted well against darker styles. Handmade with love from Bali, chains, studs, sequins, leather, lattice lace, shag and bones are incorporated into this collection, effortlessly adding an edgy statement to wearable fashion

 

High wispy hair and loose intricate braids added volume to each look. By using styling products of the highest caliber from René Furterer, and adding depth with luxe hair extensions from Indique, the hairstyle created a rocker chic meets Mad Max style. The look was straight forward, yet simultaneously feminine. It was a smoke show with Ted Gibson’s bold, black smokey eyes and UooLaa’s luscious lashes–creating drama that emulates the collection. FakeBake provided a bronzed goddess look while Zoya provided professional nailcare. Midnight navy and metallic silver polishes popped against the tan models. These colors provided a posh elegance which complimented the tough looks of the metal jewelry provided by Blaine Bowen, which included an assortment of fringed cuffs, braided bracelets and ear-cuffs. Electric Eyewear, available at Nordstrom.com, provided sunnies that mirrored the Collage Collection. Sleek frames with blackout lenses added to the overall look of the Indah woman: a confident, unapologetic mermaid with an “I don’t care” attitude. Indah was also excited to have sponsor support from Airelle, a premier natural skin care line recommended by top dermatologists and plastic surgeons, Silk’n Flash & Go, the at-home solution for painless, permanent hair removal and Braza, a functional, problem solving collection of products that provide women comfort, confidence and a carefree positive dressing experience.

 

ABOUT INDAH

INDAH is a Bali-based women’s swim and beachwear brand founded in 1997. Known for vibrant colors, seductive cuts, unique details and luxe fabrics, the brand embodies the meaning of Indah, which translates to mean “beautiful” in Indonesian. Rooted in the lifestyle of adventure and excitement, Libby, creates exotic designs inspired by her love for the island—her home. Indah owns and operates their own eco-friendly, solar powered and no waste water fabric processing facility.

The brand can be found in retail boutiques nationwide including Planet Blue, Urban Outfitters, Revolve Clothing, iShine365, Shopbop and Nasty Gal.

 

ABOUT ELECTRIC

Founded in 2000 in California, Electric makes quality products that enhance active lifestyles – offering ‘Style that performs’. By building upon what has stood the test of time, Electric reengineers classics. The brand designs and markets sunglasses, snow goggles and helmets, watches, backpacks, luggage and accessories. They can be found throughout the Americas, Europe, Japan, China and Australasia in Lifestyle boutiques, department stores, sports shops and online, including Electric’s own e-commerce websites. Electric is part of the Kering Group, a world leader in apparel and accessories which develops an ensemble of powerful Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle brands.

(above text by TANNER WALKER)

 

ABOUT SWIM WEEK

Even without longtime organizer IMG, Swim Week in 2015 has delivered a bounty of barely-there swimsuit collection for Spring/Summer 2016.

 

After IMG announced in May that it would be pulling out of what was formerly called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, following the loss of its title sponsor, those involved had a lot of scrambling to do. Without a strong sponsor or an experienced organizer, could Swim Week even continue in all its stringy, deeply spray-tanned glory? True to the old adage, the show did go on thanks to the (somewhat) cohesive efforts of the affected brands, production companies and publicists.

 

Kicking off on July 15, this year's Swim Week has appeared entirely unblemished — or the collections have, anyway. Old pros like Mara Hoffman and Mikoh delivered even more desirable swimwear for spring 2016, while a few less established names — in the swim world at least — brought some newness to the event. Maxim magazine, for one, showed its first-ever swimwear collection, inspired by Brigitte Bardot and chock-full of high-waisted bottoms and floaty coverups. Others, like Colombia-made Maaji Swimwear, went the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show route, going all-out on a kooky theme, this year's being a tousled, bohemian-era road trip.

 

But whether it was inspired by Bardot or Route 66, the common thread between each collection was an abundance barely-there, Brazilian wax-requiring swimwear. As with every year, some looks were so nude, so thinly-covered...you'll just have to see them for yourself.

(above text by MAURA BRANNIGAN)

 

MIAMI SWIM WEEK:

A week spread between the sweaty Miami heat of three separate trade shows - Swim Show, Cabana and Hammock - of various personalities, with relevant brands occupying space in the show that suit their vibe. All of these shows are situated within walking distance of each other. Brands also have parties or fashion shows throughout the four days at nearby hotels and pools, making Miami Swim Week super busy and a whole lotta fun.

 

There is a lot to take in with over 25 external runway shows after 5pm, parties and the three simultaneous trade shows, but it’s plenty pleasing on the eye. There's hot, Miami energy and it's awesome to be seeing a preview of swim collections from the hottest brands for 2016.

 

MIAMI SWIM SHOW:

The world’s biggest swim show which occupies the convention centre with hundreds of brands from across the globe. Brands featured that we liked included Seafolly, Billabong, NLP Women, Kopper & Zinc, and Rhythm amongst hundreds of others.

 

CABANA:

This is the boutique show where the brands showcase in two big, cabana-style tents near the beach with coconuts issued to buyers, media and guests on entry. A few of our faves included Beach Riot, Minimale Animale, Tori Praver Swim, Mara Hoffman, Bec and Bridge, Boys and Arrows and Bower Swim.

 

HAMMOCK:

Situated in the W Hotel, with the coolest brands of today occupying the luxury suites to showcase their latest collection with their marketing teams and a bevy of hot models. Leading Instagram swim brands seemed to be the big brands in this year’s Hammock W show including Mikoh, Indah and Frankies Swim.

 

OTHER LINKS

 

www.grindtv.com/transworld-business/news/electric-sunglas...

www.miami.com/wetter-better-look-season039s-swim-week-art...

oceandrive.com/top-miami-swim-week-events-you-need-to-att...

www.aol.com/article/2014/07/29/swimwear-on-miami-beach-ru...

www.fashiondesignersindia.com/fashion-brand-indah/

miamistyleguide.com/indah-x-my-beachy-side-at-swim-miami/

www.bikini.com/style/runway-report-exclusive-look-indahs-...

www.venuemagazine.com/2015/07/20/swimweekonfleek-recap/

vegasmagazine.com/where-to-buy-stylish-bathing-suits

www.realstylenetwork.com/fashion-and-style/2015/07/best-l...

 

HISTORY OF THE BIKINI

 

Time magazine list of top 10 bikinis in popular culture

 

-Micheline Bernardini models the first-Ever Bikini (1946)

-"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (1960)

-Annette Funicello and Beach Party (1960's)

-The belted Bond-girl bikini (1962)

-Sports Illustrated's first Swimsuit Issue (1964)

-Raquel Welch's fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. (1966)

-Phoebe Cates' Bikini in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

-Princess Leia's golden bikini in Return of the Jedi (1983)

-Official uniform of the female Olympic Beach Volleyball team (1996)

-Miss America pageant's bikini debut (1997)

 

The history of the bikini can be traced back to antiquity. Illustrations of Roman women wearing bikini-like garments during competitive athletic events have been found in several locations. The most famous of them is Villa Romana del Casale. French engineer Louis Réard introduced the modern bikini, modeled by Micheline Bernardini, on July 5, 1946, borrowing the name for his design from the Bikini Atoll, where post-war testing on the atomic bomb was happening.

 

French women welcomed the design, but the Catholic Church, some media, and a majority of the public initially thought the design was risque or even scandalous. Contestants in the first Miss World beauty pageant wore them in 1951, but the bikini was then banned from the competition. Actress Bridget Bardot drew attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on the beach during the Cannes Film Festival in 1953. Other actresses, including Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, also gathered press attention when they wore bikinis. During the early 1960's, the design appeared on the cover of Playboy and Sports Illustrated, giving it additional legitimacy. Ursula Andress made a huge impact when she emerged from the surf wearing what is now an iconic bikini in the James Bond movie Dr. No (1962). The deer skin bikini Raquel Welch wore in the film One Million Years B.C. (1966) turned her into an international sex symbol and was described as a definitive look of the 1960's.

 

The bikini gradually grew to gain wide acceptance in Western society. According to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard, the bikini is perhaps the most popular type of female beachwear around the globe because of "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". As he explains, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women." By the early 2000's, bikinis had become a US $ 811 million business annually, and boosted spin-off services like bikini waxing and the sun tanning.

 

Necklines and midriff

 

By the 1930's, necklines plunged at the back, sleeves disappeared and sides were cut away and tightened. With the development of new clothing materials, particularly latex and nylon, through the 1930's swimsuits gradually began hugging the body, with shoulder straps that could be lowered for tanning. Women's swimwear of the 1930's and 1940's incorporated increasing degrees of midriff exposure. Coco Chanel made suntans fashionable, and in 1932 French designer Madeleine Vionnet offered an exposed midriff in an evening gown. They were seen a year later in Gold Diggers of 1933. The Busby Berkeley film Footlight Parade of 1932 showcases aqua-choreography that featured bikinis. Dorothy Lamour's The Hurricane (1937) also showed two-piece bathing suits.

 

The 1934 film, Fashions of 1934 featured chorus girls wearing two-piece outfits which look identical to modern bikinis. In 1934, a National Recreation Association study on the use of leisure time found that swimming, encouraged by the freedom of movement the new swimwear designs provided, was second only to movies in popularity as free time activity out of a list of 94 activities. In 1935 American designer Claire McCardell cut out the side panels of a maillot-style bathing suit, the bikini's forerunner. The 1938 invention of the Telescopic Watersuit in shirred elastic cotton ushered into the end the era of wool. Cotton sun-tops, printed with palm trees, and silk or rayon pajamas, usually with a blouse top, became popular by 1939. Wartime production during World War II required vast amounts of cotton, silk, nylon, wool, leather, and rubber. In 1942 the United States War Production Board issued Regulation L-85, cutting the use of natural fibers in clothing and mandating a 10% reduction in the amount of fabric in women's beachwear. To comply with the regulations, swimsuit manufacturers produced two-piece suits with bare midriffs.

 

Postwar

 

Fabric shortage continued for some time after the end of the war. Two-piece swimsuits without the usual skirt panel and other excess material started appearing in the US when the government ordered a 10% reduction in fabric used in woman's swimwear in 1943 as wartime rationing. By that time, two-piece swimsuits were frequent on American beaches. The July 9, 1945, Life shows women in Paris wearing similar items. Hollywood stars like Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner tried similar swimwear or beachwear. Pin ups of Hayworth and Esther Williams in the costume were widely distributed. The most provocative swimsuit was the 1946 Moonlight Buoy, a bottom and a top of material that weighed only eight ounces. What made the Moonlight Buoy distinctive was a large cork buckle attached to the bottoms, which made it possible to tie the top to the cork buckle and splash around au naturel while keeping both parts of the suit afloat. Life magazine had a photo essay on the Moonlight Buoy and wrote, "The name of the suit, of course, suggests the nocturnal conditions under which nude swimming is most agreeable."

 

American designer Adele Simpson, a Coty American Fashion Critics' Awards winner (1947) and a notable alumna of the New York art school Pratt Institute, who believed clothes must be comfortable and practical, designed a large part of her swimwear line with one-piece suits that were considered fashionable even in early 1980's. This was when Cole of California started marketing revealing prohibition suits and Catalina Swimwear introduced almost bare-back designs. Teen magazines of late 1940's and 1950's featured designs of midriff-baring suits and tops. However, midriff fashion was stated as only for beaches and informal events and considered indecent to be worn in public. Hollywood endorsed the new glamour with films such as Neptune's Daughter (1949) in which Esther Williams wore provocatively named costumes such as "Double Entendre" and "Honey Child". Williams, who also was an Amateur Athletic Union champion in the 100 meter freestyle (1939) and an Olympics swimming finalist (1940), also portrayed Kellerman in the 1952 film Million Dollar Mermaid (titled as The One Piece Bathing Suit in UK).

 

Swimwear of the 1940's, 50's and early 60's followed the silhouette mostly from early 1930's. Keeping in line with the ultra-feminine look dominated by Dior, it evolved into a dress with cinched waists and constructed bust-lines, accessorized with earrings, bracelets, hats, scarves, sunglasses, hand bags and cover-ups. Many of these pre-bikinis had fancy names like Double Entendre, Honey Child (to maximize small bosoms), Shipshape (to minimize large bosoms), Diamond Lil (trimmed with rhinestones and lace), Swimming In Mink (trimmed with fur across the bodice) and Spearfisherman (heavy poplin with a rope belt for carrying a knife), Beau Catcher, Leading Lady, Pretty Foxy, Side Issue, Forecast, and Fabulous Fit. According to Vogue the swimwear had become more of "state of dress, not undress" by mid-1950's.

 

The modern bikini

 

French fashion designer Jacques Heim, who owned a beach shop in the French Riviera resort town of Cannes, introduced a minimalist two-piece design in May 1946 which he named the "Atome," after the smallest known particle of matter. The bottom of his design was just large enough to cover the wearer's navel.

 

At the same time, Louis Réard, a French automotive and mechanical engineer, was running his mother's lingerie business near Les Folies Bergères in Paris. He noticed women on St. Tropez beaches rolling up the edges of their swimsuits to get a better tan and was inspired to produce a more minimal design. He trimmed additional fabric off the bottom of the swimsuit, exposing the wearer's navel for the first time. Réard's string bikini consisted of four triangles made from 30 square inches (194 cm2) of fabric printed with a newspaper pattern.

 

When Réard sought a model to wear his design at his press conference, none of the usual models would wear the suit, so he hired 19 year old nude dancer Micheline Bernardini from the Casino de Paris. He introduced his design to the media and public on July 5, 1946, in Paris at Piscine Molitor, a public pool in Paris. Réard held the press conference five days after the first test of a nuclear device (nicknamed Able) over the Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads. His swimsuit design shocked the press and public because it was the first to reveal the wearer's navel.

 

To promote his new design, Heim hired skywriters to fly above the Mediterranean resort advertising the Atome as "the world's smallest bathing suit." Not to be outdone by Heim, Réard hired his own skywriters three weeks later to fly over the French Riviera advertising his design as "smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world."

 

Heim's design was the first to be worn on the beach, but the name given by Réard stuck with the public. Despite significant social resistance, Réard received more than 50,000 letters from fans. He also initiated a bold ad campaign that told the public a two-piece swimsuit was not a genuine bikini "unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring." According to Kevin Jones, curator and fashion historian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, "Réard was ahead of his time by about 15 to 20 years. Only women in the vanguard, mostly upper-class European women embraced it."

 

Social resistance

 

Bikini sales did not pick up around the world as women stuck to traditional two-piece swimsuits. Réard went back to designing conventional knickers to sell in his mother's shop. According to Kevin Jones, curator and fashion historian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, "Réard was ahead of his time by about 15 to 20 years. Only women in the vanguard, mostly upper-class European women embraced it, just like the upper-class European women who first cast off their corsets after World War I." It was banned in the French Atlantic coastline, Spain, Belgium and Italy, three countries neighboring France, as well as Portugal and Australia, and it was prohibited in some US states, and discouraged in others.

 

In 1951, the first Miss World contest (originally the Festival Bikini Contest), was organized by Eric Morley. When the winner, Kiki Håkansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened to withdraw delegates. Håkansson remains the first and last Miss World to be crowned in her bikini, a crowning that was condemned by Pope Pius XII who declared the swimsuit to be sinful. Bikinis were banned from beauty pageants around the world after the controversy. In 1949 the Los Angeles Times reported that Miss America Bebe Shopp on her visit to Paris said she did not approve the bikini for American girls, though she did not mind French girls wearing them. Actresses in movies like My Favorite Brunette (1947) and the model on a 1948 cover of LIFE were shown in traditional two-piece swimwear, not the bikini.

 

In 1950, Time magazine interviewed American swimsuit mogul Fred Cole, owner of Cole of California, and reported that he had "little but scorn for France's famed Bikinis," because they were designed for "diminutive Gallic women". "French girls have short legs," he explained, "Swimsuits have to be hiked up at the sides to make their legs look longer." Réard himself described it as a two-piece bathing suit which "reveals everything about a girl except for her mother's maiden name." Even Esther Williams commented, "A bikini is a thoughtless act." But, popularity of the charms of Pin-up queen and Hollywood star Williams were to vanish along with pre-bikinis with fancy names over the next few decades. Australian designer Paula Straford introduced the bikini to Gold Coast in 1952. In 1957, Das moderne Mädchen (The Modern Girl) wrote, "It is unthinkable that a decent girl with tact would ever wear such a thing." Eight years later a Munich student was punished to six days cleaning work at an old home because she had strolled across the central Viktualienmarkt square, Munich in a bikini.

 

The Cannes connection

 

Despite the controversy, some in France admired "naughty girls who decorate our sun-drenched beaches". Brigitte Bardot, photographed wearing similar garments on beaches during the Cannes Film Festival (1953) helped popularize the bikini in Europe in the 1950's and created a market in the US. Photographs of Bardot in a bikini, according to The Guardian, turned Saint-Tropez into the bikini capital of the world. Cannes played a crucial role in the career of Brigitte Bardot, who in turn played a crucial role in promoting the Festival, largely by starting the trend of being photographed in a bikini at her first appearance at the festival, with Bardot identified as the original Cannes bathing beauty. In 1952, she wore a bikini in Manina, the Girl in the Bikini (1952) (released in France as Manina, la fille sans voiles), a film which drew considerable attention due to her scanty swimsuit. During the 1953 Cannes Film Festival, she worked with her husband and agent Roger Vadim, and garnered a lot of attention when she was photographed wearing a bikini on every beach in the south of France.

 

Like Esther Williams did a decade earlier, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot all used revealing swimwear as career props to enhance their sex appeal, and it became more accepted in parts of Europe when worn by fifties "love goddess" actresses such as Bardot, Anita Ekberg and Sophia Loren. British actress Diana Dors had a mink bikini made for her during the 1955 Venice Film Festival and wore it riding in a gondola down Venice's Grand Canal past St. Mark's Square.

 

In Spain, Benidorm played a similar role as Cannes. Shortly after the bikini was banned in Spain, Pedro Zaragoza, the mayor of Benidorm convinced dictator Francisco Franco that his town needed to legalize the bikini to draw tourists. In 1959, General Franco agreed and the town became a popular tourist destination. Interestingly, in less than four years since Franco's death in 1979, Spanish beaches and women had gone topless.

 

Legal and moral resistance

 

The swimsuit was declared sinful by the Vatican and was banned in Spain, Portugal and Italy, three countries neighboring France, as well as Belgium and Australia, and it remained prohibited in many US states. As late as in 1959, Anne Cole, a US swimsuit designer and daughter of Fred Cole, said about a Bardot bikini, "It's nothing more than a G-string. It's at the razor's edge of decency." In July that year the New York Post searched for bikinis around New York City and found only a couple. Writer Meredith Hall wrote in her memoir that till 1965 one could get a citation for wearing a bikini in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

 

In 1951, the first Miss World contest, originally the Festival Bikini Contest, was organized by Eric Morley as a mid-century advertisement for swimwear at the Festival of Britain. The press welcomed the spectacle and referred to it as Miss World, and Morley registered the name as a trademark. When, the winner Kiki Håkansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened to withdraw delegates. The bikinis were outlawed and evening gowns introduced instead. Håkansson remains the only Miss World crowned in a bikini, a crowning that was condemned by the Pope. Bikini was banned from beauty pageants around the world after the controversy. Catholic-majority countries like Belgium, Italy, Spain and Australia also banned the swimsuit that same year.

 

The National Legion of Decency pressured Hollywood to keep bikinis from being featured in Hollywood movies. The Hays production code for US movies, introduced in 1930 but not strictly enforced till 1934, allowed two-piece gowns but prohibited navels on screen. But between the introduction and enforcement of the code two Tarzan movies, Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932) and Tarzan and His Mate (1934), were released in which actress Maureen O'Sullivan wore skimpy bikini-like leather outfits. Film historian Bruce Goldstein described her clothes in the first film as "It's a loincloth open up the side. You can see loin." All at sea was allowed in the USA in 1957 after all bikini-type clothes were removed from the film. The girl in the bikini was allowed in Kansas after all the bikini close ups were removed from the film in 1959.

 

In reaction to the introduction of the bikini in Paris, American swimwear manufacturers compromised cautiously by producing their own similar design that included a halter and a midriff-bottom variation. Though size makes all the difference in a bikini, early bikinis often covered the navel. When the navel showed in pictures, it was airbrushed out by magazines like Seventeen. Navel-less women ensured the early dominance of European bikini makers over their American counterparts. By the end of the decade a vogue for strapless styles developed, wired or bound for firmness and fit, along with a taste for bare-shouldered two-pieces called Little Sinners. But, it was the halterneck bikini that caused the most moral controversy because of its degree of exposure. So much so as bikini designs called "Huba Huba" and "Revealation" were withdrawn from fashion parades in Sydney as immodest.

 

Rise to popularity

 

The appearance of bikinis kept increasing both on screen and off. The sex appeal prompted film and television productions, including Dr. Strangelove. They include the surf movies of the early 1960's. In 1960, Brian Hyland's song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" inspired a bikini-buying spree. By 1963, the movie Beach Party, starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, followed by Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) that depicted teenage girls wearing bikinis, frolicking in the sand with boys, and having a great time.

 

The beach films led a wave of films that made the bikini pop-culture symbol. In the sexual revolution in 1960's America, bikinis became quickly popular. Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Gina Lollobrigida, and Jane Russell helped further the growing popularity of bikinis. Pin-up posters of Monroe, Mansfield, Hayworth, Bardot and Raquel Welch also contributed significantly to its increasing popularity. In 1962, Playboy featured a bikini on its cover for the first time. Two years later, Sports Illustrated featured Berlin-born fashion model Babette March on the cover wearing a white bikini. The issue was the first Swimsuit Issue. It gave the bikini legitimacy, became an annual publication and an American pop-culture staple, and sells millions of copies each year. In 1965, a woman told Time it was "almost square" not to wear one. In 1967 the magazine wrote that 65% of "the young set" were wearing bikinis.

 

When Jayne Mansfield and her husband Miklós Hargitay toured for stage shows, newspapers wrote that Mansfield convinced the rural population that she owned more bikinis than anyone. She showed a fair amount of her 40-inch (1,000 mm) bust, as well as her midriff and legs, in the leopard-spot bikini she wore for her stage shows. Kathryn Wexler of The Miami Herald wrote, "In the beginning as we know it, there was Jayne Mansfield. Here she preens in leopard-print or striped bikinis, sucking in air to showcase her well noted physical assets." Her leopard-skin bikini remains one of the earlier specimens of the fashion.

 

In 1962, Bond Girl Ursula Andress emerged from the sea wearing a white bikini in Dr. No. The scene has been named one of the most memorable of the series. Channel 4 declared it the top bikini moment in film history, Virgin Media puts it ninth in its top ten, and top in the Bond girls. The Herald (Glasgow) put the scene as best ever on the basis of a poll. It also helped shape the career of Ursula Andress, and the look of the quintessential Bond movie. Andress said that she owed her career to that white bikini, remarking, "This bikini made me into a success. As a result of starring in Dr. No as the first Bond girl, I was given the freedom to take my pick of future roles and to become financially independent." In 2001, the Dr. No bikini worn by Andress in the film sold at auction for US$61,500. That white bikini has been described as a "defining moment in the sixties liberalization of screen eroticism". Because of the shocking effect from how revealing it was at the time, she got referred to by the joke nickname "Ursula Undress". According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, "So iconic was the look that it was repeated 40 years later by Halle Berry in the Bond movie Die Another Day."

 

Raquel Welch's fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. (1966) gave the world the most iconic bikini shot of all time and the poster image became an iconic moment in cinema history. The poster image of the deer skin bikini in One Million Years B.C. made her an instant pin-up girl. Welch was featured in the studio's advertising as "wearing mankind's first bikini" and the bikini was later described as a "definitive look of the 1960's". Her role wearing the leather bikini raised Welch to a fashion icon and the photo of her in the bikini became a best-selling pinup poster. One author said, "although she had only three lines in the film, her luscious figure in a fur bikini made her a star and the dream girl of millions of young moviegoers". In 2011, Time listed Welch's B.C. bikini in the "Top Ten Bikinis in Pop Culture".

 

In the 1983 film Return of the Jedi, Star Wars' Princess Leia Organa was captured by Jabba the Hutt and forced to wear a metal bikini complete with shackles. The costume was made of brass and was so uncomfortable that actress Carrie Fisher described it as "what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell." The "slave Leia" look is often imitated by female fans at Star Wars conventions. In 1997, 51 years after the bikini's debut, and 77 years after the Miss America Pageant was founded, contestants were allowed wear two-piece swimsuits, not just the swimsuits (nicknamed "bulletproof vests") traditionally issued by the pageant. Two of the 17 swimsuit finalists wore two-piece swimsuits, and Erika Kauffman, representing Hawaii, wore the briefest bikini of all and won the swimsuit competition. In 2010, the International Federation of Bodybuilders recognized Bikini as a new competitive category.

 

In India

 

Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore appeared in a bikini in An Evening in Paris (1967), a film mostly remembered for the first bikini appearance of an Indian actress. She also posed in a bikini for the glossy Filmfare magazine. The costume shocked the conservative Indian audience, but it also set a trend of bikini-clad actresses carried forward by Parveen Babi (in Yeh Nazdeekiyan, 1982), Zeenat Aman (in Heera Panna 1973; Qurbani, 1980) and Dimple Kapadia (in Bobby, 1973) in the early 1970's. Wearing a bikini put her name in the Indian press as one of Bollywood's ten hottest actresses of all time, and was a transgression of female identity through a reversal of the state of modesty, which functions as a signifier of femininity in Bombay films. By 2005, it became usual for actors in Indian films to change outfits a dozen times in a single song — starting with a chiffon sari and ending up wearing a bikini. But, when Tagore was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification in 2005, she expressed concerns about the rise of the bikini in Indian films.

 

Acceptance

 

In France, Réard's company folded in 1988, four years after his death. By that year the bikini made up nearly 20% of swimsuit sales, more than any other model in the US. As skin cancer awareness grew and a simpler aesthetic defined fashion in the 1990s, sales of the skimpy bikini decreased dramatically. The new swimwear code was epitomized by surf star Malia Jones, who appeared on the June 1997 cover of Shape Magazine wearing a halter top two-piece for rough water. After the 90's, however, the bikini came back again. US market research company NPD Group reported that sales of two-piece swimsuits nationwide jumped 80% in two years. On one hand the one-piece made a big comeback in the 1980's and early 1990's, on the other bikinis became briefer with the string bikini in the 1970's and 80's.

 

The "-kini family" (as dubbed by author William Safire), including the "-ini sisters" (as dubbed by designer Anne Cole) has grown to include a large number of subsequent variations, often with a hilarious lexicon — string bikini, monokini or numokini (top part missing), seekini (transparent bikini), tankini (tank top, bikini bottom), camikini (camisole top and bikini bottom), hikini, thong, slingshot, minimini, teardrop, and micro. In just one major fashion show in 1985, there were two-piece suits with cropped tank tops instead of the usual skimpy bandeaux, suits that are bikinis in front and one-piece behind, suspender straps, ruffles, and daring, navel-baring cutouts. To meet the fast changing tastes, some of the manufacturers have made a business out of making made-to-order bikinis in around seven minutes. The world's most expensive bikini, made up of over 150 carats (30 g) of flawless diamonds and worth a massive £20 million, was designed in February 2006 by Susan Rosen.

 

Actresses in action films like Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) and Blue Crush (2002) have made the two-piece "the millennial equivalent of the power suit", according to Gina Bellafonte of The New York Times, On September 9, 1997, Miss Maryland Jamie Fox was the first contestant in 50 years to compete in a two-piece swimsuit to compete in the Preliminary Swimsuit Competition at the Miss America Pageant. PETA used celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Traci Bingham and Alicia Mayer wearing a bikini made of iceberg-lettuce for an advertisement campaign to promote vegetarianism. A protester from Columbia University used a bikini as a message board against a New York City visit by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

 

By the end of the century, the bikini went on to become the most popular beachwear around the globe, according to French fashion historian Olivier Saillard due to "the power of women, and not the power of fashion". As he explains, "The emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women", though one survey tells 85% of all bikinis never touch the water. According to Beth Dincuff Charleston, research associate at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "The bikini represents a social leap involving body consciousness, moral concerns, and sexual attitudes." By the early 2000's, bikinis had become a US $811 million business annually, according to the NPD Group, a consumer and retail information company. The bikini has boosted spin-off services like bikini waxing and the sun tanning industries.

 

Continued controversies

 

The bikini remained a hot topic for the news media. In May 2011, Barcelona, Spain made it illegal to wear bikinis in public except in areas near the beaches. Violators face fines of between 120 and 300 euros. In 2012, two students of St. Theresa's College in Cebu, the Philippines were barred from attending their graduation ceremony for "ample body exposure" because their bikini pictures were posted on Facebook. The students sued the college and won a temporary stay in a regional court.

 

In May 2013, Cambridge University banned the Wyverns Club of Magdalene College from arranging its annual bikini jelly wrestling. In June 2013, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who also is interested in fashion, produced a bikini for her clothing line that is designed to be worn by girls 4 to 8 years old. She was criticized for sexualizing young children by Claude Knight of Kidscape, a British foundation that strives to prevent child abuse. He commented, "We remain very opposed to the sexualization of children and of childhood ... is a great pity that such trends continue and that they carry celebrity endorsement."

 

Four women were arrested over the 2013 Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for indecent exposure when they wore thong bikinis that exposed their buttocks. In June 2013, the British watchdog agency Advertising Standards Authority banned a commercial that showed men in an office fantasizing about their colleague, played by Pamela Anderson, in a bikini for degrading women.

 

Links:

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bikini

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini_variants

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swimsuit

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini_in_popular_culture

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indecent_exposure

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indecent_exposure_in_the_United_States