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Photos: Anniversary of the bikini

Updated 1:29 PM ET, Thu July 5, 2012
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Model Lynn Jones shows off a bikini underwater in 1955. Peter Stackpole—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Although two-piece swimsuits -- like this one worn by a sunbather in France in 1945 -- had already been around for decades, a Frenchman named Louis Reard officially introduced the bikini on July 5, 1946. His idea was to fashion a garment, using as little fabric as possible, that could still be legally worn in public. Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Jayne Mansfield poses with hot-water bottle likenesses floating around her in 1957. Allan Grant—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Model June Pickney sports a bikini in 1960. Stan Wayman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Beach-goers wear bikinis near Malibu, California, in 1970. See more bikinis over the years at LIFE.com. Co Rentmeester—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images