Tanning History II

women on the beach
Tanning throughout history

Did you not know that the history of tanning is closely linked to the history of fashion?

The 1920s, Paris, the cradle of fashion. A woman will appear on the scene who will forever banish the style of clothing that was imposed on women until then. A young woman with short hair and dressed in a black suit, meets Monsieur Poirot on a night out –at that time the highest authority in fashion, one of his advances was to eliminate the corset in women’s clothing–. He tells the young woman: “-You are in mourning! But for whom? To which the woman replied: “For you dear” . And so, almost at a stroke, this young woman changed the course of fashion. Sophisticated dresses with heavy and uncomfortable skirts went down in history, she became an influencer and created trends beyond clothing, such as tanning!

Still don’t know who we’re talking about? COCO CHANEL, the revolutionary, short hair, skirt above the knee, pants and masculine suits. The liberator of women, an icon to be followed by all female society. Her life crossed borders and was followed and admired by women around the world.

It is an anecdote that exemplifies to what extent it exerted its influence even sometimes in an involuntary way, and for which, the history of the tan that we have seen (History of tanning I ) how until then women protected themselves from the sun and took care of themselves to have white skin, turns 180 degrees.

In the holidays of 1923, Chanel left for a cruise around the Mediterranean on the yacht of her partner, the Duke of Westminster. In what appears to be an oversight, Coco does not protect herself from the sun and allows her skin to brown, returning to Paris with a tanned complexion. As everything she does or says becomes a trend, from that moment on the brunette woman is beautiful. Everything that women of high birth had avoided at all costs, is now considered beautiful and becomes a trend.

from sun with love coco chanel

How does fashion help tan?

Well, in the following years, clothing has been cut, knee-length skirts, miniskirts, shorts… and for the first time in history, bodies are exhibited on the beaches, exposing areas of the skin covered until then.

Since the eighteenth century it had become fashionable among high society to go to the beaches on vacation. Many of the Spas were on the coast, places where they went to rest, swim or take baths with cures prescribed by doctors. But the clothing in terms of the swimsuit was very different. The skin was covered almost entirely with leggings and long sleeves.

Starting in the 1930s, swimsuits were one-piece, a kind of overalls with short pants that progressively cut the pants almost to the groin and increased the necklines. And in June 1945 the bikini makes its appearance. Designed and invented by the French Lois Reard.

He made the formal presentation of the garment at the famous Molitor high society Parisian pool parties. Reard took the name ” bikini ” from some Pacific islands where the Americans were conducting a nuclear test at the time. Although it did not have an immediate reception, since it took two decades to spread worldwide, it is one of the garments that has revolutionized the world of fashion globally. During the following decades several advances will contribute to the fashion of uncovering and the consequent exposure to the sun.

70 years of tanning culture and uncontrolled exposure to solar radiation have passed under total and utter ignorance. Now we have the scientific knowledge, there is no longer an excuse for non-prevention. You should be aware of protection to avoid skin cancer and other conditions and not continue to commit the follies of the past.

And so far, we leave you to think if it is not a paradox that combating the custom of tanning (because let’s remember, there is no healthy tan), which the goddess of fashion brought us, is done in the most effective way possible: with fashion. Our UPF50+ garments are designed to enjoy the sun with great style, keeping your skin healthy.

Do you join the healthy skin lifestyle?

Eva Zorzo

Suntastic and Protective Apparel UPF50+

Photographs: Women Sunbathing” in 1950 on a Florida beach by Nina Leen, Life magazine photographer; Coco in 1939 on the beach sunbathing in one of the first swimsuit models; Coco Chanel with the Duke of Westminster on the yacht where they used to vacation; The children of Alfonso XII on the beach in 1917 with the bathing suit of the time, little striped monkeys. Presentation of the bikini at the Molitor pool in Paris, 1945; New York beauty salons in the 1930s used this forerunner of the sunbed. Maximum tan at maximum speed with the searchlight in the French Alps, 1971.