Tanning lines

Since the Sixties, the evolution of the bikini, the ultimate holiday accessory, has been captured in the Pirelli calendar's sexy photographs

he whole point of going on holiday to some far-flung destination is so that you can sit around by the pool wearing the skimpiest, scantiest bikini or one-piece without the slightest fear of running into anybody you know. Your dimpled, dough-like body might not be used to such exposure. And without anybody to tell you otherwise, you can imagine that you look like a Pirelli girl.

In the Sixties, the Pirelli girl looked like a proper little beach bunny in her newfangled nylon two-piece. The only problem was, as soon as she took a dip in the sea, her pert bra and knickers would sag miserably: it was not a pretty sight. The solution came in the Seventies when string replaced fabric and swimwear became so insubstantial that there was nothing left to sag. Dental floss, it was called, as the thong and macrame string bra left nothing whatsoever to the imagination. By the Eighties, things had got a little more serious. Swimwear came over all high-tech with Lycra swimsuits cut high to the waist to emphasise those well-toned legs and thighs that were the product of hours of straining and stretching at the gym. And what of the Nineties, the decade that is almost old enough to be part of fashion history itself? According to the Pirelli girl, swimwear has become more decorative than functional. But some things never change - having a great body helps. Clockwise from top left: Seventies hipsters were about to be overtaken by the thong, Pirelli 1970, photographed by Francis Giacobetti; still buttoned-up but with a flash of midriff, Pirelli 1965, photographed by Brian Duffy; in the days before Lycra, bikini bottoms had a habit of sagging when wet, Pirelli 1964, photographed by Robert Freeman; by the late Nineties, swimwear was about making a statement, not getting a tan, Pirelli 1997, photographed by Richard Avedon; doing away with the bikini altogether, Pirelli 1995, photographed by Richard Avedon; making a splash in a painted-on suit, Pirelli 1984, photographed by Uwe Ommer

All photographs are from `The Pirelli Calendars Complete' (pounds 29.95) published in paperback on 11 January by Thames and Hudson

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea