Bikini Science orgainzes the bikini and related swimwear as a series of "species" that are mixed and matched as fashion statements. The genus of swimwear found here include vintage bathing costumes as well as the most recent bikinis. Note: bikinis are organized as two species--one for the top and another for the bottom!|
Bathing Dress (From the Victorian age)
Unitards and the -Tard Genus (Full-coverage body suits)
Maillot (The one piece swimsuit)
Soutien-gorge (Bikini tops)
Culotte (Bikini bottoms)
Bikiniology (The lore of the bikini)
Costumes are the clothing worn by bikiniites. In the Five dubyas of Bikini ScienceBikini Science also include a variety of other swimwear, exercise wear, and street clothes, beginning with the bathing dress of the 1800s and ending with the topless g-string of the 21st century. Each scene in Bikini Science has its costume identified (and is thus searchable); most, but not all costumes are linked from the costume pages.
We approach the labeling of the bikini in the spirit of Roland Barthes' Fashion System, and identify species of swimwear, oftentimes using formal French terms. Our classification scheme focuses on several main divisions. First, the bikini is always treated as the union of two species of swimwear: the soutien gorge, or the top; and the culotte, or the bottom half.
It turns out, however, that our study of the bikini embeds us in a timeline of events that span decades and visits beaches that touch all the oceans of the world. And so because the bikini is not an isolated event, it order to understand it better we have also expanded our study to include some of the swimwear costumes types that surround it, both in history and on the beach. And so therefore we also study the species of the maillot, also know as the one-piece. And we explore the more matronly bathing dress and the unitard. We also discover that some of these forms have modern resonances, such as the exercise leotard and the relationship between the bikini and the fitness movement.
A final major them in the Costumes category is Bikiniology. Here the bikini scientist will find opportunities to explore some of the characteristics of the bikini, such as ties and reties, fasteners, materials, transparency and see-through, crochet, shells and metals, foundations, layers, tans, tags and underwear worn as swimwear.
Many of these variables are detailed in pairs of comparison photographs, diagrams, and plans that illustrate the variables in action. Other pages draw out business and sociological vectors of influence. We will relate technological factors, like stretch fabric, to social factors, like the emerging sexuality of this century.
Costumes & Exposures
The dual of the costume is the exposure, that is, what part(s) of the body the costume doesn't cover. Exposures are topics in their own right and the details about them are found in the Professor, or analysis section. Much of this analysis draws upon the work of Flugel and his study of the shifting erogenous zones. The reactive factors on swimwear that cause shifting erogenous zones are not entirely known, but our study of the bikini attempts to explore several of them: courting behavior of individuals, business and manufacturing pressures, models or stars who want publicity, and photographers and publications (the media) who associate sales with pushing the limits of curiosity. We will also show how new species of swimwear are spawned as the result of catastrophic collisions between moving fashion lines, such as the creation of string bikini.
The Future of Costume
Today the bikini is neither dead nor endangered. It is a staple extreme in an ever-changing evolution of swimsuit exposures. The swimsuit now has a history--one-hundred years of movies, photos, print, patterns, garments, and sociology. And this, too, either by diligence or accident, is beginning to be explored, recycled, and redeployed, often with new materials and in new contexts. We are in a period of forging new species from our existing stockpiles. Bikini has cross-bred with a new generation of maillot, often-times with unusual tensionings, cutouts and ties. Single bare-breasted maillots and half-top combinations have forced rethinking and redefinitions of the top-bottom relationship. These new styles challenge our very definition of species. Swimwear styling now resonates with the gym as well as theater and fetishwear. The future will grow out of the past, but it is only partly predictable, and we may be confident that it will contain some shockers for us--things we aren't prepared to see next and things that will arouse us, like the sideless or fio dental. And that is the name of the game.