Les baigneuses

About this photograph

In the 1920s, influenced by American culture, sunbathing became fashionable. Previously women, particularly if they were from the upper class, kept their skin milky white. In the 1920s, it became chic to be suntanned. It was the end of wide-brimmed hats, veils and gloves. The First World War completed the liberation of the dress code for women ending the wearing of corsets, cutting their hair and daring to show their body more, within very reasonable. Sunbathing became part of the lifestyle for the upper social classes. It symbolised health, vitality, beauty and a form of social superiority. Women revealed themselves more on the beach and wore swimsuits which became less all-encompassing. With the advent of paid holidays and the extension of the railway network, seaside holidays became popular. Beach pursuits became associated with holidays as well as with balneotherapy. Everyone was entitled to their own ray of sunshine. Fashion, including that of swimwear, evolved over time. Thetwo-piece swimsuit emerged and Naiads strode along the beaches and happily paraded.

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