Scandalous Swimwear: Annette Kellerman's Bathing Suit From The Early 1900's
This photograph from the early 1900's shows professional swimmer Annette Kellerman posing in a one-piece bathing suit of her own creation.
Kellerman was the first woman to attempt swimming the English Channel in 1905, and is credited with the invention of synchronized swimming as well as the pioneering of women's swimwear. Unfortunately these accolades weren't enough to prevent her from getting arrested on Revere Beach, Massachusetts at the height of her fame in 1907. The "Australian Mermaid" had the audacity to go swimming without a dress or pantaloons and was charged with indecency.
In spite of controversy the one-piece design grew in popularity, with the primitive unitards becoming known as "Annette Kellermans." Annette would continue to amaze audiences with her high dives and aquatic acrobatics, popularizing a re-discovery in the simple pleasures of swimming as well planting a seed for the acceptance and appreciation of the female form, boldly unadorned.
Fun Fact: Besides being a world-renowned swimmer, Kellerman was also an accomplished actress, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1916 she appeared in the first million-dollar production, Daughter of the Gods, picking up another "first" along the way: the first major actress to do a scene fully nude.