bathing costume & swimsuit

St Michael

bathing costume & swimsuit

St Michael


Psychedelic nylon and lycra swimsuit with very low cut back, padded bust and "vandyked" waist seam at front. Multicoloured yellow/pink/orange/blue/white stylised floral printed pattern. Label: "St. Michael: nylon and lycra / Bust 36" / hips 38/39 / Made in Britain".

Display Label

From the 1920s, simple all-in-one swimsuits in clinging machine-knitted wool jersey became fashionable, and were retailed by specialist firms such as Jantzen and Bukta. Stylised female figures in stylish swimming costumes were also used to decorate or advertise products by connecting them to healthy leisure pursuits, and the outdoor life (see the fan below). The first 2-piece swimsuits or "bikinis" revealing a bare midriff were worn from the late 1930s, although the term "bikini" was not used until after the war in the late 1940s. By the 1950s and 1960s, the fabric used for swimwear increasingly reflected mainstream fashion and costumes became more daring and vibrant, so that even a swimsuit from M&S would be made in a dramatic psychedelic print to attract the youth culture. By the mid-1960s more and more bare flesh was exposed, and women's swimwear could be very revealing. Avant guarde designers like Rudi Gernreich produced ever bolder styles which were featured in fashion magazines, notably his outrageous topless "Mono-kini" of 1964. Later designs included one-piece suits with bold, geometric cut-outs, revealing much of the wearer's body, and asserting that the body should be flaunted, not carefully covered up.

Object Name

bathing costume & swimsuit

Creators Name

St Michael

Date Created



Bust: 90cm
Hip: 97.5cm

accession number


Collection Group


Place of creation

United Kingdom



© Manchester Art Gallery

Fill out my online form.