It’s midway through this sunny season and nothing says summer like the swimsuit. However, the swimsuit has changed drastically since it’s inception. When it was first invented in the 18th century, it’s sole purpose was to cover up the human body in order to maintain a level of decency. In the 19th century, the woman’s two-piece swimsuit became popular – which consisted of a long gown with sleeves and essentially, a pair of ankle-length leggings. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the swimsuit began to decrease in size and from the 1960’s on, the swimsuit shrank in all directions. Given all of this, it’s clear why this garment is responsible for so many significant cultural moments. Here are the twelve most iconic celebrity swimsuit moments of all time.
12. Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian had the world talking when she uploaded this swimsuit selfie to Instagram, in October 2013 – less than four months after giving birth to her first child, North West. The barely there white one-piece suit showed off all of Kim Kardashian’s famous curves. The photo has over 1.1 million likes on Instagram and although it was taken recently, this picture is sure to go down as one of the most famous swimsuit moments of all time.
11. Kate Upton – Cat Daddy
In 2011, model Kate Upton appeared in a short YouTube video doing the ‘Dougie’ dance at an L.A. Clippers game. The video received over 9 million views, giving Upton, a relatively unknown model, the notoriety she needed to jump start her career. A year later, a bikini clad Kate appeared in a short YouTube video doing the “Cat Daddy” dance. The video went viral, making Kate Upton become nothing short of a household name. Now, it’s basically an iconic swimsuit moment every time Kate Upton puts on a bikini.
10. Helen Mirren – 2008
This famous bikini moment was captured by a tabloid magazine in 2008, and as soon as it hit the internet, people went nuts for it. The photo of Helen Mirren in a red bikini proved that a woman can look good in a bikini at any age, even 63. This photo launched Helen Mirren to sex-symbol status, once again.
9. Demi Moore – Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
In the 2003 film Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Demi Moore stunned audiences when she emerged on screen donning this itsy bitsy black bikini. Demi was 40-years-old in this scene and she proved that even a middle-aged mother of three can rock six pack abs and a killer bikini-bod.
8. Bo Dereck – 10
The 1979 film 10, made Bo Derek an instant sex-symbol when audiences all over the world watched as Bo ran in slow-motion, while sporting a nude one-piece and corn-row braids. Bo Derek was slo-mo jogging long before the cast of Baywatch. Her killer bod, flesh-colored swimsuit, beaded cornrows and slow-motion jog made this scene a truly unforgettable swimsuit moment.
7. Carrie Fisher – Return of the Jedi
In 1983, Carrie Fisher mesmerized the masses when she played the role of Princess Leia in the film, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. The renowned gold metal bikini she donned was only worn in two scenes, but it still became one of the most iconic sex symbols and the most recognizable item of clothing of all time.
6. Phoebe Cates – Fast Times at Ridgemont High
When Phoebe Cates slowly exited the swimming pool wearing a red bikini in the 1982 comedy, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, audiences all over the world were in complete awe. This notorious scene defined Phoebe Cates’ career and easily became one of the sexiest swimsuit moments in film history.
5. Marilyn Monroe – 1956
In 1956, Marilyn Monroe was captured in this white one-piece swimsuit on Long Island. The pictures from this beach photo shoot have become a symbol for women and the importance of embracing their curves. Monroe was said to have been a size 10 in this photo, which is considered large according to Hollywood’s standards. This iconic swimsuit moment is proof that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
4. Raquel Welch – One Million Years B.C.,
Raquel Welch’s fur bikini made her performance in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C., completely unforgettable. It clearly didn’t matter that Raquel only had three lines in the entire film. This photo also became one of the best-selling pin-up posters of the 1960’s, further branding Raquel Welch and the fur bikini as a legendary moment in swimsuit history.
3. Pamela Anderson – Bay Watch
Pamela Anderson spent five years in this famous one-piece swimsuit, running in slow motion on the hit television show, Baywatch. Slow motion shots of lifeguards running was an unforgettable trademark of the show, but it was done most notably by Pamela Anderson. Her red high-cut lifeguard suit is a symbol for 90’s pop culture and is easily one of the most recognizable swimsuits of all time.
2. Farrah Fawcett – Charlie’s Angels
For promotion of the 1976 film Charlie’s Angels, Farrah Fawcett was photographed in her home in this red Norma Kamali one-piece suit. This swimsuit moment was responsible for making Farrah Fawcett a star. The photo was so iconic that it was turned into an extremely popular poster, and ultimately became a symbol for 1970’s pop culture. The swimsuit and original poster are on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
1. Ursula Andress – Dr. N0
When Ursula Andress emerged from the water in the 1962 film, Dr. No in a white belted bikini, she not only became the very first Bond girl, she defined it. This swimsuit moment established her as one of the most desirable woman in the world and set the standard for Bond girls to come. Ursula even went on to win a Golden Globe for her role and in 2001, the white belted bikini sold for more than $60,000.