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Karolina Kurkova's missing belly button

SUPERMODELS - The mystery behind Karolina Kurkova's missing belly button has been revealed. Because I know y'all having been on the edge of your seats just wondering. The Czech supermodel set tongues wagging (again) last week after she appeared on the catwalk at the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show showing off her vanishing belly button. Now her rep has come forward to explain things.

"She had an operation when she was an infant. It's a fact and just thank God she's healthy," the rep said.

"Karolina's body is amazing, but her belly button is unusual," a fashion insider told Page Six magazine. "It disappears in photos, so we keep a collection of belly button shots in different positions, and Photoshop them on to her whenever she's doing a bikini picture."

How clever! Although this, together with those ridiculous fat taunts from earlier this year, means it is definitely time to lay off the poor girl.

Indonesia Allows Bikinis

FASHION/POLITICS - After months of discussions, Indonesian lawmakers have agreed that bikinis are acceptable attire for beaches in the world's most populous Muslim country. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, with Muslims making up some 86.1 percent of the 235 million population.

"Tourists will be able to wear bikinis in special tourist areas, such as in Bali, so Indonesia's tourism industry won't be hurt by this legislation," Democrat Party lawmaker Husein Abdul Azis told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Friday, October 17.

"We are listening to the protests of stakeholders and people at large," he added, referring to fears the tourism industry would suffer if bikinis were criminalized.

Bikinis were to be criminalized under a new a pornography bill, being debated by the parliament. But politicians and tourism entrepreneurs have warned that the bill would undermine the country's tourism industry.

Indonesia has declared 2008 "Visit Indonesia Year" and hopes to attract seven million visitors, earning 6.7 billion dollars in foreign exchange revenues.

Proposed in 1999, the bill defines porn as sexual material that includes photographs, cartoons, films, poems, vocalization, conversations and body gestures in the media, or in public shows, exhibits or performances.

It calls for criminalizing those who arouse sexual propensity, desires or longings or contravene community ethics, decency or morality. The bill also imposes fines on women who refuse to cover "sensitive" body parts, such as hair, shoulders, midriffs and legs.

It also slaps a seven-year jail term on people caught kissing in public. The porn bill will treat recreational and leisure areas differently.

No word yet on whether Ms Indonesia will also be banned from wearing a bikini.

Paris Hilton strips to her bikini in fake election bid

POLITICS - Socialite and party-girl Paris Hilton has stripped down to a silver stars-and-stripes inspired bikini as part of her mock election campaign for the United States presidency.

The celebrity heiress, who has released two humourous videos and a music video as part of her campaign, has now posed in a US presidential election-inspired photo shoot. It features Hilton's "Secret Service Dudes," and in it she talks about creating a new department for fashion police, being good at sipping a martini and being the best "Commander in Bikini".

Paris For President Lyrics by Paris Hilton

Paris for president,
At the Palms chillin’ with the martini.

Paris for president,
Your commander in bikini.

When they tell you ’bout my policies
To stop the player-hating on the USA,
Incentivize nuclear non-proliferation and ratify Kyoto today.
You can ride in the motorcade…
in the hybrid, pink Escalade!

Paris for president,
Not another oldie cliche.

Paris for president,
you can get married if you’re straight or if you’re gay.

If you’re gonna put lipstick on a pig, make sure that shit it matches her skin tone.
you can trust me with my finger on the button,
“Nucular” is a vocabulary don’t.
Trading in the cabinet for a walk….in….closet…hey!

Paris for president,
America should put me in charge.

Paris for president,
look at Bush it cant be that hard

Simon Cowell, he might be a little mean,
but when his oldest kicks the bucket
I’ll put him on the court supreme
Then I’ll paint the white house pink
and move Camp David to Maui…

Paris for president,
A proponent of clean energy.

Paris for president,
The real maverick in D.C.

Water boarding is torture and,
global warming is totally not hot.
I’ll make a department called the Fashion Police
and boost the economy with all of the new jobs.
Make over Lady Liberty…in Donna, Tommy, and Calvin Klein.

Paris for president,
Get your cute little butt out there and vote.

Paris for president,
Dispensing beauty tips and hope.

Paris for president, hey!
Paris for president, hey!
Paris for president, hey!

I’m Paris Hilton and I approve this message.

Bikini Skiers

The first day of daylight saving brought fine, sunny weather to much of the country yesterday and spurred about 30 hardy souls to carve the slopes of Mt Ruapehu each dressed in a bikini as if they were heading for the beach.

But don't be fooled - while the sun was blazing, a cold front and fresh snow on the mountain saw temperatures plummet to minus 5 degrees celsius, with the wind chill generated by hurtling downhill making it feel more like minus 15C.

The skiers and snowboarders took part in the downhill race at Turoa to raise funds for Breast Cancer Research. About $3000 was raised.

Mt Ruapehu marketing manager Mike Smith said there were plenty of volunteers - mostly blokes - to collect donations and carry jackets to the bottom of the course.

"Those girls are pretty hardy," he said. "It was cold enough being fully clothed, to be honest."

Both Turoa and Whakapapa ski-fields have had record-breaking snow bases leading into the school holidays, which run this week and next week.

Yesterday saw the welcome return of the sun after a wet and windy week.

Wellington enjoyed clear skies and 14C temperatures. Napier recorded 15C and New Plymouth hit 17C.

But MetService forecaster Andy Downs said last week's changeable weather would return today, bringing gale-force winds.

"That will bring clouds in, and it will rain later in the afternoon or evening."

A cold southerly was expected tomorrow morning, he said.

And with the spring equinox last week, the days will now be longer than the nights.

Sarah Palin in a Bikini

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80s Bikini Comedies

Though 1980s beach films seem objectifying and anti-feminist, they offer a utopian space where class and gender hierarchies begin to dissolve.

A group of young women dressed in homemade army-print bikinis are stretching in the shallow water on the beach, preparing for a running race.

Todd [through megaphone]: Okay! It's time to get wet! Are you ready?

[Alan rushes up to Todd, distressed]

Alan: Todd! I just read the invoice from that surgical supply house ...

Todd [through megaphone]: On your marks! [Turns to Alan] So?

Alan: The thread... the surgical thread we used to sew the bikinis!

Todd [through megaphone]: Get set! [Turns to Alan] What about it?

Alan: It's full of dissolving stitches, Todd!

Todd: I know!

Todd fires his gun to start the race, and the film cuts to a slow-motion shot of the girls running through the water as their bikinis gradually fall off. Then we see onlookers -- boys, men, women, and one police officer, who all laugh at the spectacle, and a close-up of Todd and Alan, smiling.

No, the above scene is not from a porn movie. It's from the The Bikini Shop (released as The Malibu Bikini Shop in the U.S.), directed by David Wechter, one of a number of low-budget Hollywood beach movies that had a brief resurgence during the 1980s. You may have come across such films as Summer Job, Spring Break, Sizzle Beach USA and Private Resort in a dark corner of your local video store -- not naughty enough to be behind the curtain, but titillating enough to provide pubescent boys with their first taste of adult entertainment. The movies belong to the broader genre of the teen movie, and they necessarily include gratuitous female nudity, as in the scene detailed above.

The movies are, at first glance, basically tit-and-ass comedies that take place on the beach. There is no doubt that the novelty of seeing daggy '80s fashion can make these films fun to watch now, but they have more than mere nostalgia value. The films capture the transition from adolescence to adulthood. But whereas we must reluctantly accept adult responsibilities, '80s bikini movies allow us to indulge the fantasy of rejecting them and return to a world where fun rules.

The basic premise in all these films is the same: a group of young, attractive characters spend their spring break or summer vacation on the beach getting naked (girls) or trying to get laid (guys). This gives ample opportunity for gratuitous nudity and close-up bikini montages, but these same ingredients -- the beach, a vacation and sex -- bestow the movies with unlikely substance.

The Bikini Shop follows college graduate Alan (Michael David Wright) on a trip to California, where he intends to settle his deceased aunt's estate and return to Chicago to be married into high society. But the aunt left half of her estate to Alan's rowdy brother Todd (Bruce Greenwood), who doesn't want to sell her beach house -- he wants to run his aunt's bikini shop with Alan.

So begins Alan's journey. His transformation from an upper-middle-class tire sales executive to a laid-back Californian can be understood as a liminal journey. Film theorist Adrian Martin observes that liminality -- an anthropological term that refers to the transitional period between major life events -- is, more than any other aspect of teen movies, the thread that connects them all. For Martin, liminality manifests in teen movies as "that intense, suspended moment between yesterday and tomorrow, between childhood and adulthood, between being a nobody and a somebody, when everything is in question, and everything is possible." This brief but often life-changing detour between life stages figures in The Bikini Shop: by the end of the film, Alan has dumped his snobby fiancée, fought to keep the modest shop, and shacked up with the shop's salesgirls in the beach house. As Alan goes from wearing full suits to shorts and Hawaiian shirts, his core concerns have gone from money and status to family loyalty and hedonism.

You'd be hard pressed to think of any teen film from any era that doesn't explore liminality. American Pie focuses on a group of boys determined to lose their virginity before they finish high school; the quest to "become a man" by having sex is as explicitly liminal as the classic teen transition between high school and college. Dazed and Confused limits its focus to the last few days of middle school and the rites of initiation teens experience in order to enter senior high's social circle.

At a basic level, liminal journeys can be understood as various rites of passage. But the implications of liminality are more complex than this. Cultural anthropologist Victor Turner, author of The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, explains that the liminal operates in opposition to structured society, and "secular distinctions of rank and status disappear or are homogenized". '80s bikini movies explicitly explore this aspect of liminality within the space of the beach, separating the subgenre from other teen movies.

As the strip between the ocean and the land, the beach is itself liminal -- neither land nor sea, but with the characteristics of both, as John Fiske, Bob Hodge, and Graeme Turner observe in Myths of Oz: Reading Australian Culture. And according to Lena Lencek and Gideon Bosker, authors of The Beach: The History of Paradise on Earth, the space of the beach "sizzles with the erotic voltage of bare-breasted, bare-buttocked beauties and virile stalwarts," providing an escape from "the nagging sense of fealty to cash, work, and responsibility."

At the beach house in The Bikini Shop, there are no limitations: alcohol flows freely, flirting is par for the course and everyone -- even Alan, enjoying a spa with beautiful salesgirl Ronnie (Barbara Horan) -- is shown having a good time. It no longer matters that Alan belongs to a higher class than his fellow partygoers, or that he has a fiancée: as a liminal space, the beach in The Bikini Shop facilitates the breakdown of sexual and class boundaries.

The beach also provides the opportunity for rejuvenation and the blurring of boundaries in Where the Boys Are '84. In the movie, Sandra (Wendy Schaal) reluctantly accompanies her college friends to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for spring break, disappointed to be missing out on the trip she had planned to a more sophisticated vacation spot, Bermuda. Seeing the masses of semi-naked college students spilling out on the beach, her friend Jennie (Lisa Hartman) exclaims, "It's a supermarket of sex!" But Sandra describes the carefree environment as a "zoo" and insists that a girl should only date bankers, lawyers, and doctors. But these prejudices against the nonprofessional classes disappear during her beach vacation, during which she dates a police officer -- a lowly civil servant.

The similarly stereotyped affluent snob Barbara (Chantal) in Summer Job also relaxes her prejudices during her time working at a beach resort. At the beginning of the film, she sourly explains that her "daddy" made her apply for the menial resort job to build her character. Barbara arrives at the resort with a personal assistant and treats all her fellow employees like crap. But by the end of the movie, Barbara has befriended many of the other employees and has even taken to dating the equally stereotypical geek Herman (George O).

Class is not the only social category dissolved at the beach. In Spring Break, Nelson (David Knell) gradually gains the courage to defy his overbearing stepfather during his college vacation, turning the familial hierarchy on its head. Sandra lets her own inhibitions collapse in Where the Boys Are '84 when she allows herself to get drunk and perform a table-top striptease in a bar, literally stripping off her self-imposed restrictions.

The characters in '80s bikini movies often face a significant life change: Alan's impending marriage and career, Sandra's college graduation and entry into upper-class society. Their deviation to the beach is often portrayed as a last escape, the last chance to enjoy the frivolity of youth before entering the real world. Hovering between life stages, the liminal break offers a chance for necessary personal growth.

Typically, the characters return to society having absorbed the necessary lessons, but sometimes, they don't. In The Bikini Shop, Alan chooses to remain in the liminal space of the beach rather than return to his responsibility-filled life with his fiancée. Alan simply refuses to grow up. Here, the beach film positions liminality as a utopia, where one can permanently escape the pressing obligations of adult society. Such a resolution perhaps explains the modest popularity of '80s bikini movies during their heyday. What teenager wouldn't fantasize about never growing up, about spending their life surrounded by near-naked specimens, enjoying endless parties and no-strings-attached sex? Who wouldn't at least dream of rejecting the often-terrifying prospect of maturity and responsibility?

Of course, one could argue that '80s bikini movies are nothing more than sexist drivel. The endless stream of impossibly beautiful women that litter the mise en scéne of these films provide eye candy and little else. In The Bikini Shop there are several overtly sexist set pieces -- the most offensive involving the installation of one-way mirrors in the bikini shop's changing rooms. But to attack the films for negative attitudes toward women would be to take them far more seriously than they ever took themselves. Like the beach in these films, '80s bikini movies themselves are a liminal space inviting us to suspend such judgments and providing us with a foray into irresponsibility, careless fun and good times. In this world, the abundance of naked women is not sexist; it's just refreshingly free of political correctness. The free exchange of sex is not irresponsible; it's just fun. And the idea that we, like Alan, can live out our days on the beach? Well, that's just great.

Bikini Blabble

If you're a fan of Facebook you'll probably like this new Facebook application called Blabble. Loads of fun for you and your friends.

French beaches Vs Topless Sunbathing

According to reports coming from France, sunbathers on the Cote d'Azur, who once adopted a "laissez faire" attitude to nakedness, have turned against displaying too much bare flesh.

Even regulars at La Voile Rouge beach club on Pampelonne's Beach, in St. Tropez, where it all started shortly after the actress' film And God Created Woman, prefer to keep their top on.

The development has sparked a minor debate in the country which has always prided itself on being less prudish than its Anglo-Saxon neighbours.

For some it is simply a change in fashion, for others it marks a new conservatism sweeping France. Yet others say it is to do with increased health concerns about skin cancer and sensitivities to the growing Muslim community.

"It is seen as a bit vulgar now," said Sabina Hourdin, 38, from Paris, holidaying in St Tropez. "It is like mini-skirts. You don't show your legs any more, you cover them up more.

"In the 70s and 80s less was considered more when it came to clothes but now that has changed. It has gone out of fashion."

But a spokesman for the health ministry put the cover up down to cancer concerns.

"Whereas people once thought nothing of exposing their flesh to the sun for many hours, people are generally a lot more sensible nowadays.

"This is certainly the case as regards women who are very conscious of the risks of exposure to bright sunshine."

Geraldine Doree, a 34-year-old publishing executive from Paris who was enjoying the beach at St Tropez, said: "In the past the whole place would have been filled with topless women, but people are a lot more sensible nowadays.

"The health risk is very great, and people prefer to cover up for longer periods. It might also be that people are now more aware of the offence topless sunbathing might cause.

"There are many Muslims in the south of France who might find such a sight upsetting."

In the past La Voile Rouge - or Red Sail - was described a seaside sanctuary of "French aristocracy that has no qualms seating a grandmother in a Chanel pantsuit next to a topless-teenager having Chandon sipped from her belly button".

It was here that Princess Grace and Brigette Bardot would arrive by yacht in the 1950s when it was little more than a fishing shack.

Now it is lined with beach clubs and bars and known for its gorgeous women and Mediterranean playboys.

There is even a makeshift catwalk for them to sashay down in the middle of the space.

Bikini Runways

Swimwear should suit body, not trends

Swimwear should suit body, not trends, says fashion model Monika Schnarre.

TORONTO — Elegantly clad in all black and peep-toe heels, it's hard to imagine anything could look less than flattering on Monika Schnarre.

But the statuesque former supermodel recently spoke candidly of one swimwear look that wasn't among her best - the boy short.

"I looked back at pictures from the cottage, and it was in a really bright print - and I've got a booty," recalled the six-foot-two Schnarre. "It didn't look good. It wasn't good for me."

"There are skirted options, which I think are really flattering, but that's where someone has to be really honest with you, and say, 'It's not working, Monika. You're really not rocking out the boy short."'

Schnarre said while it's tempting to snap up the trendy new item off the rack, sometimes what's hot doesn't necessarily work for everyone - and that's OK.

"I've always said in fashion, it doesn't matter what the trends are, you should wear what looks best on you, regardless of what's in," she said. "If skinny jeans don't look good on you, don't wear them."

The Toronto-based beauty, who has graced the covers of Vogue and pages of the famed Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, is suiting up once again - this time as the face of a Canadian brand making a comeback.

Following a decade-long hiatus, Sea Queen is relaunching with a new swimwear line designed to fit women 35 and older.

But the 37-year-old Schnarre said the pieces are "not your old lady swimsuits" and that the collection incorporates looks inspired by the runway.

Among the one-piece, two-piece and tankini suits that comprise the line, the swimsuits include bold accents like belts, metallics and exotic tiger and jungle prints.

When trying to find the right size, Schnarre said the focus should be on the fit rather than the number on the tag, which may not match up to what you normally wear in clothes.

"If you wear something that's too tight, it can work in clothing, maybe, but in a swimsuit it's not forgiving, and you don't want any digging into the skin," she said.

"And don't get hung up on the size. If you're a size 6, you might want an 8 or a 10 just because again, you don't want cutting into the skin. It's not flattering."

For those with a larger bust, Schnarre suggests trying out a halter which is adjustable, thus allowing you as much or as little support as you need, while women with a smaller bustline may want a little enhancement in the form of a bra.

Among the features in the Sea Queen line is a built-in bra with malleable moulded cups featuring flexible underwires touted as being able to keep their shape in and out of the water.

For a more boyish figure, Schnarre said ruching can create some curve as well as a beautiful waistline.

And while belts can be a stylish addition, in the case of women who are petite with a slim build, the empire waist may be a better option because it gives the illusion of looking taller, Schnarre said.

"If you're quite short, I think that a belt on the waist would just cut you in half," she said.

"But up here, (it) creates the illusion of a waistline and a longer torso," she added, motioning to a suit featuring the empire waist.

As for accessories, Schnarre likes to infuse a little glamour in her swimwear look by wearing heels around the pool which helps to elongate the leg, in addition to donning a hat and sunscreen.

But she stresses that whatever bathing suit buyers opt to pick up, their focus should be on selecting something that looks great on you - no matter what's considered "in."

"If a one-piece is in, but you look better in a bikini, rock the bikini, it doesn't matter," she said. "It's all about looking your best."

Additional tips on how to flaunt assets, minimize flaws with right swimwear

For a woman with...

A large chest: Look for suits with underwire, soft cups with wider straps for best support.

A small chest: Look for suits with detailing and pattern on top which will give the illusion of a larger chest. Two-piece bathing swimsuits are also a great way to enhance the bust.

Full hips: Try a suit with a skirt to visually even out your line. Printed top with solid coloured bottoms also help draw the eye upward.

A tummy: Look for suits that have a built-in tummy control and those with ruching or a crossover design to help camouflage your midsection.

A short torso: Try a bikini to elongate your body. Two-piece swimsuits with lower cut bottoms give the illusion of a longer torso.

A long torso: Try suits that give you a balance effect. A deeply-cut neckline, higher waisted and higher cut bottoms help make the torso appear shorter.

Bikinis made of Salmon Skin

Who would have thought that salmon's scaly skin could be so useful, or become a fashion statement one day? Claudia did. She also saw a source of cheap raw material in the masses of salmon skin discarded worldwide every year.

Her Lycra-trimmed, ultra-mini salmon-skin bikini, which she describes as durable and elastic, and trousers have now become wardrobe must haves of most celebs.

“Many people who lived near rivers and oceans have used fish throughout history. It's not my original idea,” she told a British website. “It’s amazing, it’s a used product and you transform it into a product with added value.”

These days Escobar is busy scouring the local markets looking for materials to go with sheep wool. Why? Because she has just returned from a trip to pick up wool shed by sheep in the Scottish islands. She is already excited about developing something traditional using the wool.

Bollywood Divas in Bikinis

Kareena Kapoor started off a fashion trend when she dropped a few kilos to get into a bikini for Tashan.

Soha Ali Khan raised eyebrows and even upset her protective big brother Saif Ali Khan when she got herself a sexy look for a magazine cover. After years of playing the good girl, Amisha Patel got a brand new look for her cameo in Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic.
Telly bahus Sangeeta Ghosh and Shweta Salve have chucked their good girl image and are looking bold, brazen and ravishing in their debut film, Bhanvra. Even petite Amrita Rao seems to have finally gotten tired after playing girl next-door and tries to get herself a glam makeover, while even Priyanka Chopra gets into the beach babe mood in Dostana.

What makes Bollywood divas get glam and shed clothes and their conservative screen image almost overnight? “What’s wrong about showing off a bit skin? Actresses have been wearing skimpy clothes for years, we are more casual about it now,” says actress Sangeeta Ghosh. “I did ‘bold scenes’ because the script demanded that,” points out Sangeeta. “I believe that if you are comfortable then there is nothing wrong in it. I always do things that I believe are right for me,” chips in Shweta, who has done some ‘hot, hot’ bikini scenes in her debut film.

But do filmmakers want their leading ladies to look ‘glam and sexy’ or do the actresses offer to flaunt skin? “Of course, the filmmaker asked me to wear a bikini and I had no reservations,” says Shweta. The only problem — shrugging off a glam image is not easy.

Ask Mallika Sherawat, Neha Dhupia, Celina Jaitley and their ilk, how they have been caught in that image trap for years now. “No film works because the leading lady is wearing skimpy clothes. Ultimately, you have to act,” affirms Sangeeta. It is official, every top star from Rani Mukerji to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan have got into the glam mode more than once in recent times to woo the audience. It becomes a matter of surging ahead of competitors. Malaika Arora Khan feels it is “very important to keep changing one’s image because this is the only way you will sustain in this business”.

In the race to look glam and scorching, actresses seem to have no qualms about shedding a few inhibitions, if it brings them rich returns. So, who’s next on the going glam brigade, we wonder!

Does the bikini have too much hype?

The evolution of the bikini has been interesting.

Now, the bikini is almost a prized piece of art. There’s great fascination around its history, invention and evolution. The bikini was invented to create a fashion sensation. Wow, it’s always got a great reaction! That said, there is a practical aspect in that, it’s much simpler to get in and out of a two-piece than a regular swim costume. Historically, during war time, rationing textile made it more efficient to wear a bikini. It was a dramatic change and made the bikini socially acceptable. That’s what led to the glamourization of two-piece swim costumes. It should be considered that the one-piece costume caused a very similar reaction in the 1910-1930 period, as women were seen for the first time with bare legs, active and outdoors. Glamour women in a bikini had arrived and were making a sensation. When stars like Brigitte Bardot and Ursula Andress began wearing the bikini, the star factor attached itself to their clothing. To feel as glamorous as a movie star, it made perfect sense to copy what they wore.

There is evidence of bikini-shaped garments from antiquity -- Greek images on urns and Roman mosaics depict women athletes wearing what is essentially the modern bikini. The bandeau top is functional and acts as a brassiere for athletes -- ancient and modern. The best-known version of the story is that engineer Louis Reard and fashion designer Jacques Heim invented the ‘Bikini’ in 1946 in Paris -- and named it for the atomic bombs being tested in the Bikini Atoll of the Pacific in July of that year. Apparently, they thought it would cause a similar explosive reaction. Heim & Reard’s ‘Bikini’ was actually quite daring, with a high cut string bottom, although the version that eventually became popular. Gradually, as it became acceptable in Western society to bare the midriff, bikinis have become smaller, and sometimes leave out the top altogether--see Rudi Gernreich’s edgy (and not very popular!) ‘Monokini’. Different styles are acceptable in different places -- a beach in Brazil is different to one in North America.

Fashion wise, the two-piece or bikini just follows the development of the 20th century. First it became acceptable for women to bathe in the sea, and woolen swimming dresses emerged; as women began to assert themselves as athletic and advances were made in fabric technology,synthetic one-piece costumes developed. The next logical step was the simpler two-piece. It’s popularity has in- creased in proportion to the popularity of sunbathing, swimming, beach holidays, and other aspects of modern life. Hence, bikini wars started. To a point, where the bikini became an obsession!

"Men think the bikini is the most sensual garment." - Suneet Varma, Fashion Designer.

The bikini is nothing but a three piece triangle. It’s like the bermuda triangle, where men just lose themselves. It drives men crazy. The bikini makes men forget any other attachment they have. Essentially, the bikini was adapted from the lingerie. It’s almost like an undergarment which can be worn outside.

The evolution of the bikini triggered the inside-outside revolution. Gautlier revolutionised the bikini and corset by making his models wear them on clothes. In fact, La Perla’s colourful bikini tops are worn only under transparent shirts, to show-off. The fashion interpretation of the bikini has been over-glamourised. Now, I see women on Miami beaches wearing bikini briefs with sexy halter tops. I agree, bikini’s the most seductive piece of clothing ever invented.

It has an emotional, physical and metaphysical dimension to it. It can be sensual, sporty, seductive all at the same time. When it’s sporty, bikini’s construction is not so exhibitionist! Most men I know, find it the most exciting piece of garment. Iconic images of a bikini always arouse great curiosity. Men and bikinis have a unique, interesting relationship -- it’s pure erotica. That’s why bikini has been over-glamourised because it’s the briefest garment in the world. The bikini has changed the shape and style of fashion. There’s nothing sexier than the itsy-bitsy, teenie weenie bikini!


Let's talk about you. If you haven't bought your swimsuit yet or aren't crazy about the one you grabbed, this is your week. The fast and furious markdowns are starting, making now the time to get out there and find a suit that makes you feel so fabulous you could skip to the snack bar in it.

And, I can assure you: This year, it's out there.

Never before have I witnessed a summer when designers served up so many completely different swimsuit silhouettes. It's as if they finally realized that women come in different shapes and sizes.

I won't bore you with the suits you've already seen (tankinis) or the styles made for those without an ounce of body fat or self-consciousness (can you say "mono-kini"?), but I do want to point out the styles that offer most real women a completely new chance for flattery and comfort poolside.

Although these suits would certainly flatter a woman who typically wears a string bikini, they're especially good news for the truly swimsuit-phobic.

The swimdress: It sounds awful, but top swimwear designers like Gottex and Donna Karan and even junior lines like A.N.A at JCPenney are turning this retro idea into a cute, swingy, slightly clingy style that skims your thighs and backside in an oh-so-flattering and not-too-revealing way. Some versions are one-pieces with pants sewn in; others are two. All are less daunting than a traditional, high-cut tank.

The longer tankini: Instead of stopping at the waist (not every woman's smallest part), some newer tankinis have a fit-and-flared shape that skims out over your hips. Those with a halter-style top look sleek, chic … not at all like you're trying to hide something.

The retro bikini: Some of the newest-looking two-pieces are vintage in inspiration. The upshot is that they have much higher waistbands than we've seen in years, offering a way to wear two pieces without revealing an area that some of us consider a problem spot.

Surf skirts and board shorts: The board shorts that guys have been wearing to the pool for the last few seasons are crossing over. The "hers" versions are much shorter than his, but the bold colors and looser cut offer a fashion-forward way to get more coverage for your bottom half. Layering them over a bikini bottom (that's peeking out from the waistband) makes them look less body-camouflage. Newer yet are the mini "board skirts" -- made of similar fabrics and in a similar, baggy cut ... but as cute little skirts that you could wear almost anywhere.
Tales from the dressing room: We try on and tell all

What we're all really looking for is not just a perfect swimsuit … but a swimsuit that gives us a perfect body. And, if you've been in the swimsuit department lately, you know there are plenty of brands promising just that. Their tags assure you that they'll take off 10 pounds, trim an inch off your waist, and lift and rearrange your body in ways no body-sculpting class ever could. But is this fashion hype … or reason for hope?

We sent two of our favorite Scene shoppers, Christa Ritchie and Maisy Fernandez, and two celebrity testers, Lynda Lambert and Jenny G. from the Lambert and Lindsey morning show on 102.3 The Max (where I chat about fashion every Tuesday morning), into the dressing rooms to test and tell.


The Miracle Suit (at Dillard's and Macy's): "The Miracle Suit's tag said 'ten pounds in ten seconds' and it definitely felt like it did that. People warned me that it would feel like a girdle, but I wouldn't say it was that uncomfortable. It was like pulling on a pair of Spanx, but the tightness didn't bother me. It did what it said. And I liked the ruching and the low-cut neckline. It didn't look like a suit my grandma would wear."

The Magic Suit (Macy's): "This one promises to make you look 7 pounds lighter … and that was about right. It had less of that suck-you-in feeling and a little less support than the Miracle Suit. But it worked too. It's a better choice for someone who wants the slimming without the tightness."

Coco Reef (Macy's): "These suits didn't make specific claims and they didn't have the waist-slimming action -- but they are made for women with larger chests. They came in cup sizes from C to double D, and they really were very supportive and really cute.

Comment: "You do have to pay attention to how these suits reshape you. Sometimes they squeeze you in one area and it does kind of distort you in another. Make sure you check yourself from every angle."


Profile by Gottex (Macy's): "It doesn't promise to shave off 10 pounds, but it does accentuate the shape you already have -- great if you have an hourglass figure. More important, it does the job comfortably."

Great Lengths (Macy's): "This brand is made a bit longer in the torso to prevent riding up, and it has a tummy-tucking feature. I tried the wrap style, and it really did nip in my waist. However, the leg openings cut almost straight across, making my legs look shorter."


Anne Cole Shirred Front Tankini (Dillard's): "This was my favorite. It wasn't called a shaper officially, but it has the built-in bra and padding -- so it had good support. It also had a good fit overall and was cute and comfortable. I didn't feel like I was wearing armor. I could actually swim in this."

The Magic Bra Swimsuit (Dillard's): "I tried these on with my mother … and this was her favorite on me. It did flatter and support my chest, unlike a lot of two-pieces."

Comment: "I had a problem with some of the hardware on suits and the positioning of the hardware. I think they'd produce weird tan lines, and some of them hurt."


Adjustable Roxy Halter Bikini (Macy's): "I really loved this suit. The closure on the back of the halter was really secure, and there was enough coverage in the front. The bottom wasn't too skimpy and I liked the side ties because you can adjust them. The bright prints shout 'summer.' "

Lucky Brand Bikini (Macy's): "This didn't have specific claims, but the top was surprisingly supportive for a bikini."

Comment: "I agree with Lynda that you have to be careful about some of the hardware on the suits. Some of the suits I saw had belts and buckles near the waistline that were just unflattering."

Summer Bikini Trends and Comfort

Suddenly summer is upon us and it's time to start donning your swimming suit. Those who worked out this winter and stayed in shape can show off all they want in a little bikini. But for those who want more coverage, there's a large selection of tankinis, long tops -- some that are flared -- with boy-leg shorts.

Most manufacturers now offer two-piece bathing suits with the tops and bottoms priced separately, allowing a customized fit.

"The one-piece swimsuits with cutouts are selling well," said Vickie Smith, who works in the swimwear department at Dillard's in Wichita, Kan.

She also said that the tankini styles that are categorized by bra size are selling well "because getting a top to fit can be the biggest problem some women have when it comes to buying a swimsuit."

Clare Brown, head of buying at, an online swimwear shopping site, says "bright colors -- a trend that reinvents itself every year -- include zingy greens joining last summer's corals and lemons."

Metallic fabrics, animal prints and every size of polka dots you can imagine are other trends you'll see.

Swimwear featuring lingerie touches such as lace, bustier styling and ribbon trims are very feminine.

Turquoise blue is one of the hottest saturated colors for swimwear and beach accessories this year. But don't be surprised to see a wide range of brown shades, usually accented with brights.

"Retro looks such as high-waisted briefs are key for the summer. The one-piece is making a big return -- from revealing high-fashion cutaways to sophisticated, figure-flattering suits," Brown said.

Frilly and feminine, or sleek and sporty, there's a swimsuit that will take you poolside through the summer.

Princess Tam-Tam Bikini

Mention Princess Tam-Tam to movie buffs and they will immediately regale you with stories of the classic 1935 black and white film starring Josephine Baker, who plays a Tunisian girl introduced to Parisien high society.

Mention Princess Tam-Tam to lingerie fans in the know and they will go into paroxisms of praise about the French range of ultra-sexy underwear. Many of us have bought it online or swooped on one of their gorgeous shops while on holidays in France. In fact, that is one of the noticable features of French fashion shopping -- the number of lingerie shops in ratio to shoe, bag and fashion boutiques. Clearly, French women realise the importance of dressing well, from the first layer out.

The good news for Irish shoppers is that Princess Tam-Tam swimwear is now available exclusively at Arnotts in Henry Street, Dublin. Their white bikini (see overpage) has proved hugely popular this year and you can shop to suit your shape, with bandeau tops or sexy triangles and bottoms that come in boy shorts styles or regular bikini briefs.

Kay Casey, swimwear buyer at Arnotts, reports intense interest in the co-ordinated pieces, such as loose parachute trousers, flattering tunics and co-ordinated pool shoes.

If you like your swimsuit to have a strong, structured feel, I suggest you check out the Gottex summer offerings, which will definitely create poolside or beach drama (see above), and this architectural fashion feel is also evident in the Louis Féraud range, which has fascinating cut-out pieces.

Former actress-turned-celebrity spokeswoman and swimwear designer, Elizabeth Hurley's black bikini is not cheap at €130, but it will a be work of art guaranteed to turn heads. That's for sure. The Miss Sixty swimwear pieces are bright and beautiful, with hot pink prints on black backgrounds.

If you feel you need a little coaxing to get back into swimwear, try Miraclesuits, exclusive to Arnotts. The marketing claim is that you will look 10 pounds lighter when you pull them on and this is reportedly due to Miratax, a patented fabric that has three times more Lycra than fabric in other swimsuits. There are cuts to flatter your legs and give the illusion of slimmer hips.

A little like creating your own pizza to suit your tastes, you can choose a suit to match your body type and play up or down your best and worst features.

Bikini Tree

Bikini Barmaids

Folks steamed over barmaids in bikinis:

The south sound communities of Auburn, Lakewood and now Bonney Lake have each been stirred up by the scantily-clad fashion statements made by local coffee stands, the Tacoma News Tribune has reported.

This is nothing new for us in Kitsap, whose residents have already confronted "pastie Tuesdays," at Espresso Gone Wild in Gorst and the hot pink pants of Natte Latte nearby. Other stands around here have also featured promotional "bikini" days.

But are these kinds of stands, where "bikini baristas" foam your double tall lattes wearing next to nothing, breaking the law? So wondered the News Tribune, who was told that the three cities who had complaints did look into the law-breaking aspect.

There appear to be three areas of law that cities have examined: one that protects the barista (labor laws), and two that protect the consumer -- criminal indecent exposure laws, and health code violations.

So far, city and county governments have found no clear violations on any front. But just in case you're curious, take a look at the statute on indecent exposure in Washington:

"A person is guilty of indecent exposure if he or she intentionally makes any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm."

Regardless of how this law looks, it is possible that critics of the stands might find a lawmaker to take up the cause -- and pass a new law. A somewhat similar situation occurred in Texas a few years back when state legislators attempted to pass guidelines in an effort to cover up cheerleaders.

Here in Kitsap, there's been no such controversy quite like those of the south sound. When asked about the stand for a February Kitsap Sun story, Kitsap County Sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilson said this:

"I'm sure a lot of people consider this titillating. Unless we get a complaint or we physically view it ourselves and say, 'This is over the line,' we're not going to do anything about it."

Kelly Brook is Best Bikini Body

Kelly Brook has been named as the star with the best bikini body in a new poll, beating Halle Berry and Elle MacPherson to the top spot.

The poll, which was conducted by Debenhams’ department store, has included 2000 participants that answered the question who had the best ever bikini body.
Kelly Brook, who was 28-year-old beauty leads the poll. She was followed by Halle Berry, who infamously appeared topless in the film “Swordfish” and showed off her bikini body in the James Bond film “Die Another Day” came second.
Ursula Andress, who is now 72 and starred in the film “Dr. No” in 1962, came in third. Underwear queen Elle MacPherson was fourth, while Raquel Welch came fifth - just ahead of Marilyn Monroe.

Debenhams’ top five bikini bodies:

1. Kelly Brook
2. Halle Berry
3. Ursula Andress
4. Elle MacPherson
5. Raquel Welch

Old bikini styles new again

As swimsuit season approaches, women are discovering that many of this summer’s suits represent a sharp turnaround from the crass arrangement of string and sequins that in recent years has made the Hamptons shore look like a Vegas sideshow.

Probably for the first time since Lindsay Lohan was born, fashion designers, from the high-end likes of Miuccia Prada and Stella McCartney to mainstream classics like Jantzen, have taken a more refined approach to swimwear, emphasizing one-piece looks, halter tops, high-waist boy shorts and ruffles and ruching as camouflaging details.

Jantzen’s most popular look this season is a sassily ruched one-piece, updated in lifeguard red and now called the Vamp, which would seem to encourage accessorizing with a cigarette and a martini more than a Pilatesstick.

“The extra coverage feels really right,” said the designer Shoshanna Gruss. “What more people are realizing is that these shapes are beautiful, and more women can wear these. More is more.”

Now one could argue that the covered-up direction in swimwear has something to do with the tanking economy (ahem, tankini), or perhaps it is a precautionary statement against too much sun exposure.

More likely, such looks have come around again for the same reason they were popular a half-century ago. As the Macy’s window display of historic Jantzen suits would suggest, leaving a little to the imagination imparts a lot of allure. Care for an example? A black lace suit from 1954 was called the Man Trap.

Whats hot in 2008?

From left to right: Zimmermann McKenzies floral frill bikini, $209 at Saks. Bubble crepe swim cap, $5.40 at; John Galliano high-waist bikini, $300 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Karen Walker Eyewear sunglasses, $200 at Floral bucket bag, $875 at Stella McCartney. Dean Harris pyrite ring, $2,300 at Barneys; Abaeté halter swimsuit, $255 at Slow and Steady Wins the Race sunglasses, $100 at Opening Ceremony. Patricia von Musulin hand-carved Lucite bangle, $600, and ring, $280.

Karla Colletto halter swimsuit with boy legs, $237 at Bergdorf Goodman. Silk petal hat, $755 at Marni. Patricia von Musulin hand-carved ebony and sterling silver cuff, $800, and bangle, $900.

Jantzen strapless Vamp swimsuit, $100 at Marni resin, wood and leather necklace, $1,143 at Marni, and silk petal bag, $1,085 at Barneys New York.

Le Truc embroidered bikini, $292 at Breeze in Brooklyn. Karen Walker Eyewear sunglasses, $170 at Bird in Brooklyn. Vintage Patricia von Musulin hand-carved ivory earrings, $1,400, and bird’s-eye maple ram’s head cuff, $3,200, both with sterling silver inlay.

Suggestive, not skimpy

You probably think that Hollywood stars, with their toned figures, would dazzle audiences in skimpy swimsuits, but Hollywood’s most memorable caught-on-film bathing-suit moments are more suggestive than revealing, according to model-turned-stylist Lawrence Zarian.

“What’s so sexy about a swimsuit is the imagination,” says Zarian, the host of TV Guide Network’s “The Fashion Team.” “When it comes to fashion, we’re too often giving the goods away.”

The best on-screen suits come from a generation ago, avoiding today’s emphasis on shocking amounts of skin.

“You see plain girls with enhanced breasts showing off,” Zarian says. “Sex sells, but it comes and goes. Sensuality lasts a lifetime.”

Zarian’s top Hollywood swimsuit looks:

•Deborah Kerr in “From Here to Eternity” (1953)

Kerr’s black halter-neck swimsuit with boy-short bottoms was feminine without being risque, Zarian says. “That kiss scene is heralded as one of the most romantic scenes on film ever. It was a modest one-piece, but the scene just oozed sexuality.”

•Farrah Fawcett’s pinup poster (1976)

Zarian thinks her red one-piece, tank-style bathing suit, pictured below, was the inspiration for the “Baywatch” suits that came 20 years later. The front wasn’t all that low cut and the leg openings certainly weren’t high cut, but you were still left with the feeling you saw something you shouldn’t have.

“It was the first time we saw nipples, yet everything was covered,” he notes.

•Jacqueline Bisset in “The Deep” (1977)

Having her mostly covered in a white T-shirt contributed to the mystique, Zarian says. “When you put a sexy figure in water, it adds to the senses.”

•Bo Derek in “10” (1979)

Derek’s actual swimsuit isn’t all that revealing: It’s a one-piece tank-style suit, although the straps are pretty thin. The sexy part is the flesh color and that she’s wet, according to Zarian.

“She was the fantasy of everyone — men and women. ... Yes, the bathing suit was a little too tight, but that was the point of the movie, the ‘Perfect 10.’ I loved the late ’70s!”

•Halle Berry in “Die Another Day” (2002)

Berry donned a similar — albeit orange — bikini to Ursula Andress in the original James Bond film “Dr. No” in 1962, complete with a belt to hold her knife, but Zarian says that Berry’s dark skin made a stronger statement.

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