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Retro Bikinis: Baring It All On The Beach Is So Out!

When it comes to swimwear this summer, Europe's fashionistas say covering it up can be super cool.

Look for classic styles on the beach this summer (James Paterson)
Look for classic styles on the beach this summer (James Paterson)
Egle Santolini

MILAN - The retro trend that in the past two seasons has influenced lingerie – "guepieres' and corsets a la Betty Grable included – is now invading beaches. Whether she's on a yacht or a posh island, the 2011 fashionista is likely to wear a bathing suit that looks like what her grandma might have sported in the 1950s. Except for the materials, which today are high-tech and fast-drying.

It doesn't even matter that the tan line will be invasive: tan is out of fashion anyway – for aesthetic as well as health reasons. Whatever amount of flesh you choose to bare, make sure it's not too toasty.

Fashion gurus say "No" to strings and beads, to iridescent colors, to invasive tattoos and wide-brimmed hats. Yes to classic models inspired by Grace Kelly, sporting espadrilles in "To Catch a Thief," or Liz Taylor wearing her legendary white swimsuit in "Suddenly, Last Summer."

Fashion historian Quirino Conti says that "a simple swimsuit can become the symbol of a return to more solid aesthetic criteria. No wonder we feel nostalgic toward everything and everybody: Experimentation turned out to be a disappointing trap."

Dolce & Gabbana, whose success is largely due to an artful mix of retro and unconventional style, have created some pieces that look straight out of early-1900 corsets, and a floral bikini with bottoms that go well up the stomach. The duo told the Financial Times, which looked into the trend, that they have always been inspired by "traditional corsetry" and that a woman who covers up is sexy because a lot is left to one's imagination.

From Diane Von Furstenberg to Michael Kors and Christian Dior, it's all about drapes, pinces and styles reminiscent of early Brigitte Bardot. Animal prints are in too, though it's more Ava Gardner than "Survivor."

The style is accessible to fashion victims with all budgets. Along with the high-fashion names, mid-market brands such as Zara and H&M are following the same trend.

What matters is choosing a style that suits one's body (even the most curvaceous women can find satisfaction) and accessorize it in the right way – perhaps even daring scarlet lipstick just to emphasize the message.

A big bikini bottom can make a woman feel confident and look leaner. But ladies beware, if it hides a bit of belly, it doesn't do the same for a big "derriere" – quite the opposite. Why not wear a nice long skirt at the beach and really act like a grand dame from another era?

photo - James Paterson

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Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

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