There is a 1969 French movie, called La Piscine (or The Swimming Pool) famed for the swimming costumes it features. The mere fact that they were made from stretch Lycra, means they were many years ahead of their time. They were also sleek, minimalistic, and meticulous in their construction.
This last point, I discovered myself, when I set about making a replica of the piece made famous by actress Jane Birkin - the centre of strife in the film. Looking at high resolution still shots, I could see that the top should not have any visible anchors around its oversized O-ring. Add to this, my own design requirement, for a surf-safe underbust band, and you will forgive me for taking nearly two months to refine the design.
Design is a process of big and small breakthroughs. The biggest, with this project, came when I realised that the underbust bands of my swimming bralettes (the ones I had already been making), could be flipped backward and upward, behind the triangles. It was that "twist on it", to quote Nigel Tufnel, that gave me the strength bodysurfers require, along with the fully seamless finish of the piece in the movie ("La Piscine", I mean, not "Spinal Tap").
If you add one of my La Piscine bikinis to your wardrobe, you will see for yourself, exactly what solution I came to.
The top features:
- an adjustable underbust band, that can be worn loose when sunbathing, and cinched tight when high diving or swimming in surf.
- an oversized resin O-ring.
- wear as a halter-neck, OR, tie the straps to rings placed in the back strap and wear it as a bralette.
- fabric lining as thick as the fabric on the outside.
The bottoms feature:
- over-sized resin O-rings
- fully secured lining throughout the seamless front and rear panels, for comfort and to ensure the concealed seams remain hidden.
- self-lining, front and back, to even anatomical contours and prohibit the ingress of sand
- Self fabric and lining in matching 190gsm Vita from Carvico in Milan. It is 78% Recycled Nylon and 22% Xtra Life Lycra. (See technical data from the Australian importer).
- All threads are UV and chlorine resistant polyester.
- For elasticity and endurance, 0.63mm treated latex is ran through all straps and opening seams.
- Each piece individually cut and sewn in Newcastle East in Australia.
- Design and prototyping by Steven Fleming