Australia’s inventor of the bikini, Paula Stafford dies aged 102
Nearly 80 years after her famous swimsuit made history on a Gold Coast beach, Australia’s inventor of the bikini, Paula Stafford, passed away at the age of 102.
Who was Paula Stafford?
Stafford claimed she had no clue her “two-piece” would make such a sensation, despite it being a well-known emblem of Australian beach culture.
In 1943, the self-built design made its public premiere in Surfers Paradise, shocking the traditional Queensland community.
“I didn’t believe it was going to be as big as it has been or what a tremendous impact it had when I started manufacturing them,” Stafford said in a past interview.
“They started at Surfers, it’s a natural place where they should be shown – bikinis worn on the beach in Surfers Paradise and everywhere in Australia.”
The piece, known previously as the ‘French swimming costume’ was created by cutting a one-piece in half, at a time when swimsuits were becoming skimpier due to fabric shortages during WWII.
The designer, who had originally intended to become an architect, quickly established herself in the fashion industry as her creations began to be displayed in cities like London and New York.
But in the 1950s, people would still stare at Stafford’s garish and scant pieces.
In 1952, while wearing a Paula Stafford two-piece, model Ann Ferguson was asked by inspectors to leave Surfers Paradise beach.
After a while, the craze spread, solidifying Stafford’s status as the inventor of the Australian bikini.
Stafford remarked that Surfers Paradise became the beach where anyone could wear anything at any time because “the town clerk said it’s ok and the police enjoyed it too.”
The satisfaction of making others happy is worth every minute you invest, even evening or all night occasionally.
What was Paula Stafford Cause of death?
Stafford passed away peacefully this morning.
On the Gold Coast, locals are honouring her legacy.
Baslyn Beel said Paula Stafford designed her first bikini, adding she pleaded with her family to let her wear the risque item.
“I had to convince my mother that times were changing,” she said.
“Everyone’s figure is different and she would always make them to match us.
“It was an absolute icon from a fabulous lady.”
Regina King said Stafford would create custom pieces from her boutique near the beach and was never afraid to push boundaries.
“She didn’t care how small she had them and that was back then,” she said.
“We’d see all the fabulous fabrics there all floral cottons and you’d pick out your colour and she’d have it made when you finished on the beach.
“Paula was buzzing around, always happy she really was a wonderful woman.”