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Itsy-Bitsy Art

The history of the swimsuit is really the history of the women’s movement. Early suits with bloomers and caps were made of wool even though they got heavy — and smelly — when wet. The 1920s bathing beauties, armed with the right to vote, donned clingy numbers that revealed — gasp! — their lovely lady lumps. The 1960s bikini exposed even more, and the thongs of today, well, we still blush.

Because Miami Beach was a backdrop for such fashion, it’s fitting the Wolfsonian is hosting “Beauty on the Beach: A Centennial Celebration of Swimwear,” a retrospective of swimsuits from the museum’s own collection as well as from the archive of one of the oldest swimsuit companies, Jantzen. “Beauty on the Beach” will reveal how the design and marketing of swimwear shaped and reflected ideas about fitness, beauty, and glamour. A photographic portrait of Miami Beach bathing culture by Miles Ladin will also be on display.

Wolfsonian members are invited to a preview plus free daiquiris this Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The exhibition runs through October 11.
July 10-Oct. 11, 6:30 p.m., 2009


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