In fact it was first documented 1700 years ago, in a mosaic, 'The Villa Romana del Casale', depicts within its mosaics, girls dancing or excercising in a 'bikini'.
Apparently 'invented' in 1946 by a french engineer, Louis Reard, he ran his mothers' lingerie business. Out of a piece of material measurng 30 inches, he constructed a bikini out of 4 triangles, 'le bikini' made its mark. He was in competition with a french designer Jacques Heim, to make the smallest bikini for girls to wear in St. Tropez and to enable them to get more of a tan, yet keep their dignity intact!
In 1957 Brigitte Bardot, was filmed in a bikini for the film 'And God created Woman,' and in France it began to be popular but took some time to catch on as it was considered highly indecent to expose the belly button/naval.
The 1960's was just around the corner and hemlines on many levels were raised, leaving the way clear for a 'Teenie-weenie, itsy-bitsy, yellow polka dot bikini', popular song of the 1960's from Brian Hyland, to rule the waves, from Brighton to Cannes, from Sydney to LA. Although in Catholic countries the bikini was banned initially.The first Playboy magazine cover featuring a bikini appeared in 1962.
Famously Bond girl Ursula Andress walked out of the sea wearing the now iconic bikini in Bond film, 'Dr No'. This scene was popularly repeated by another Bond girl over 35 years later by Halle Berry in 'Die Another Day'.
The power of the modern bikini in this the 21st century, was shown when one was worn by Myleene Class in the jungle reality ITV show, 'I'm a Celebrity get me out of here!'Myleene was filmed showering in a makeshift jungle shower in her itsy-bitsy, and the classically trained pianist, one time 'Hearsay' pop group member, has since won many tv presenting jobs, classical recording contracts, and currently models for Marks & Spencer in their high profile advertising campaigns. The power of the bikini, would she have gotten such lucrative deals in an all in one?