Swimwear collection




A collection of over 1,000 items including women's, men's and children's garments ranging from 1900s bathing dresses and accessories to 21st century performance and recreational swimwear. The collection includes homemade garments as well as swimwear designed and manufactured in Australia, Britain and the United States of America. The collection also covers swimwear designs, advertisements, patterns, swatch books, photographs, catalogues, prints and accessories such as bathing caps and sunglasses.

Since the late 19th century, the swimsuit has evolved from a practical garment for hiding the body to the revealing, colourful fashion statement we know today. It has reflected broader fashion trends and responded to changing attitudes towards the public display of the body. Fashion cycles have seen swimwear develop from the bulky bathing dresses of the 1890s and unisex swimsuits of the 1920s to the revealing styles of the 1970s and 1980s, designed to frame a lean, fit, sculpted body - paving the way for the luxury ranges of the 1990s. From the mid-20th century gravity-defying designs were made possible by innovations in textile technology. Into the 21st century the swimsuit continues to embody fashion and function whether as a specialised racing suit or a catwalk statement.

Some material included in this collection may be subject to copyright

By appointment only, please contact ANMM

Parts of this collection are digitised and available on the ANMM web site


1890s-2000s; Swimming; Swimming cap; Swimming pools; Swimming trunks


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2012-05-30 23:40