Louis Reard was born in Switzerland in 1896. He was a mechanical engineer until the early 1940's when he decided to become a clothes designer, and for a start to make swimsuits.

On 18th July 1946, he dressed Micheline, a nude dancer from the Casino de Paris, in a two piece swimsuit. This was just 3 weeks after the USA had conducted Atomic Bomb tests in the Pacific on a small atoll named Bikini, in the Marshall Islands. So Louis Reard decided to call his new swimsuit, "the Bikini".

He had a novel way of advertising his swimsuit. He hired a skywriting plane to write in the sky "Atome - the world's smallest bathing suit" and "Bikini - smaller than the smallest bathing suit in the world."

Louis Reard afterwards opened a bikini shop in Paris and sold swimsuits for 40 years till he died in 1984 at the age of 88.

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