Iconic swimwear since 1942

Pamela Anderson and her unmistakable red Baywatch swimsuit have topped a survey which aimed to discover the most iconic swimwear moments in history – since the very first bikini was designed in 1946.

In the study of over 2,000 British women by swimwear, nightwear and lingerie brand Pour Moi, Pamela’s look stole the show, with over 40% of women choosing it as their number one swimwear moment.  

Second in the poll came Ursula Andress in her belted bikini from the 1962 Bond film Dr. No, followed by Marilyn Monroe’s sassy striped bandeau bikini from 1948, Barbara Windsor’s misbehaving yellow two-piece in 1969’s Carry on Camping and Halle Berry’s orange bikini from 2002’s Die Another Day.  

Princess Diana, who continues to be a major source of swimwear inspiration for today’s designers, also made it into the top ten moments with a floral bandeau two piece worn on holiday in 1985 coming in at number nine. 

Other celebrity looks, such as Kim Kardashian’s black bandeau two-piece from 2018 and Beyonce’s colourful, fully sleeved one-piece which she wore in 2016, proved far more popular with a younger age group (aged 16 – 34), while older age groups favoured swimwear styles worn by Bo Derek in 1979 and Elizabeth Taylor in 1959.

Taking it right up to current day, 2019 sees the first ever model to appear in Sports Illustrated wearing a Burkini, with supermodel Halima Aden sporting a stylish black number with colourful sequinned collars and  cuffs. This image is sure to gain iconic status in time as it’s already made history.

Swimsuits are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, with Google searches up 50% in the past five years, so it’s no surprise that it was a one-piece and not a bikini which came in as the number one iconic look – and featured five times in the top ten. In fact, there are 5,400 average Google searches a month for ‘red swimsuit’, showing Pamela Anderson’s style is still a sought-after fashion piece today.  

The top 10 iconic swimwear moments

  1. Pamela Anderson’s high-legged red Baywatch swimsuit – 1990s
  2. Ursula Andress’s belted white cotton bikini – 1962
  3. Marilyn Monroe’s red and white striped bandeau bikini – 1948
  4. Barbara Windsor’s yellow bandeau bikini – 1969
  5. Halle Berry’s orange Bond Girl bikini – 2002
  6. Bo Derek’s nude one-piece swimsuit – 1979
  7. Elizabeth Taylor’s keyhole cut-out white swimsuit – 1959
  8. Farrah Fawcett’s red Charlie’s Angels’ swimsuit – 1975
  9. Princess Diana’s floral bandeau bikini – 1985
  10. Sophia Loren’s simple black swimsuit - 1965

Michael Thomson, Pour Moi founder, said: “Many of the favourite choices from our survey showcase some really timeless designs – the bandeau bikini, for example, is a style that features again and again throughout the decades. In addition, it highlights some increasingly popular trends of today, such as belted swimwear. Although originally worn by Ursula Andress back  in 1962, this style has seen over 90,000 more searches in 2019 than this time last year.”

View Pour Moi’s swimwear collection here: www.pourmoi.co.uk/swimwear/

You can view Pour Moi’s Swimwear Buyer’s Guide here: