Collection Online

Swimsuit
(c. 1920)

Artist/s name
Medium
wool, shell button
Measurements
75.0 cm (centre front) 35.5 cm (waist, flat)
Place/s of Execution
New York, United States
Accession Number
2002.184
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 2002
Gallery location
Not on display
About

The combination of increased leisure time in the 1920s and 30s alongside developing theories on health saw more people spending more time outdoors. One of the most significant developments occurred in swimwear. Annette Kellerman, an Australian champion swimmer, wore the men’s multi-piece stretch jumpsuit as it offered increased speed and comfort in the water. By 1920, Astbury Mills had begun producing the wool-knit maillot, a tight-fitting one-piece swimsuit with tank-style top and high-cut legs. It was marketed as the Annette Kellerman and dominated swimwear.

—text from Edward Steichen & Art Deco Fashion (Jan 1970)