8 of the most iconic swimwear moments in film

Left to right: Romy Schneider, Virginie Ledoyen, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall, Brigitte Bardot, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joan Blackman, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor.

From the popularisation of the barely-there bikini in the early 1960s, to perennially chic Riviera one-pieces, these are the iconic beach-side looks from our favourite on-screen stars that are inspiring us right now.

1. Elizabeth Taylor in Suddenly, Last Summer

In the 1959 adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly, Last Summer, Elizabeth Taylor sizzled on-screen in a plunging white one-piece. Worn slightly off-shoulder with deeply bronzed skin, Elizabeth’s striking swimsuit – with its sexy keyhole cut-out detail – still feels as relevant as ever.

2. Joan Blackman in Blue Hawaii

Sure, there were plenty of vintage Hawaiian print cossies in Blue Hawaii, but Joan Blackman’s colourful wardrobe of swimsuits (with matching swimming caps) definitely caught our attention. In contrast to the more vibrant pieces, it’s a subtle lemon yellow one-piece worn while Elvis Presley serenades her on the tropical beaches of O’ahu, that still gives us swimsuit envy.

3. Brigitte Bardot in A Very Private Affair

Always ahead of the curve, Brigitte Bardot heated up the screen in A Very Private Affair, wearing a white micro-bikini with low-rise ruffled bottoms at a time when one-pieces were the norm. Fun fashion fact: Bardot is often credited with first popularising the bikini by wearing the “controversial” look in her aptly titled 1952 film, The Girl in a Bikini.

4. Gwyneth Paltrow in The Talented Mr. Ripley

On the beach of the opulent Italian coast, lounging next to a sun-kissed Jude Law, we’re introduced to the 1950s wardrobe of Marge, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. An azure blue nautical print two-piece with vermillion rope-detailing (just so SS18), evokes the carefree spirit of an Italian summer, while her crisp white shirts tied over colourful bandeau bikini tops has us craving long, languid days spent in the sun. Bellissima.

5. Romy Schneider in La Piscine

An intoxicating, sun-drenched mystery with an endless supply of covetable bathing suits, the cult film La Piscine drips in 60s Côte d'Azur charm. Set in the hills above St Tropez, Marianne (played by Romy Schneider) parades around the tranquil pool in an effortless, wardrobe of plunging swimsuits. And our favourite? A figure-defining white one-piece with a curved, open back.

6. Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall in Sex and the City

When it comes to accessorising your poolside looks, take style cues from Carrie Bradshaw and Samantha Jones. Striking the perfect balance between poolside nonchalance and evening elegance, think embroidered kaftans, barely-there two-pieces and vibrant palazzo trousers. Just fabulous.

7. Virginie Ledoyen in The Beach

A pristine, uninhabited island in the Gulf of Thailand with an unspoilt, hidden beach calls for the tiniest, cerulean blue triangle bikini and sea salt rinsed, wavy strands. No wonder this scene in The Beach featuring Virginie Ledoyen is so unforgettable.

8. Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief

The epitome of Riviera style comes via the inimitable Grace Kelly. In Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, Grace Kelly plays a wealthy jewellery owner, spending her days holidaying on the Riviera in a bright canary yellow, retro swimming costume with a handkerchief skirt. Yet Grace’s most famous look was all in the accessories: timeless cat eye shades, a silk chiffon head scarf and an of-the-moment raffia beach bag. Now to plan our next getaway...

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