Image: Grace Kelly, the J. Smith Archive
Taylor Swift has done it; so has Alana, the baby sister of girl band, Haim; Katy Perry and model Gigi Hadid. What are they up to? Emulating the pin-up style of Hollywood’s golden age of bathing beauties by slipping into a retro, two-piece swimsuit. It’s a look that’s far removed from the itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikini style of Rihanna, Beyoncé or a hundred-and-one reality stars posing for the paps in “Marbs” or Ibiza.
Image: Rex features. American model Gigi Hadid in the new retro two-piece
But it is a new form of sensual swimwear sexiness that works on the conceal rather than reveal effect. Taylor Swift’s step-back into vintage swimwear is not actually all that revolutionary.
Twilight star Kristen Stewart beat her in the retro race back in November 2011, causing a commotion when she appeared on the November cover of GQ, lounging poolside in a dark green two-piece, reminiscent of Tallulah Bankhead. (Although, strictly between you and me, it was actually a bra-top by Eres and “big knickers” by Louis Vuitton. But it still looked perfect pin-up material).
Although the ‘glamour girl’ two-piece is mainly associated with the 40’s and 50’s, the style actually dates back to the 1930’s, according to Chris Boydell, of De Montfort University, curator of “Riviera Style”, a new exhibition which is now on at Zandra Rhodes’ Fashion & Textile Museum in south London, until the end of August.