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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Iran To Offer Master's And PhD In Morality Enforcement

For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.

Properly dressed in the holy city of Qom.

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

A woman in Tehran walks past a mural of an Iranian flag

The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes

Rouzbeh Fouladi/ZUMA

New academic discipline

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

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