Way back on the first One-Piece Wednesday, I mentioned the all-bikini 1997 issue and asserted that it was “an honor that will never be bestowed on one-piecers.”
I was wrong. It happened twenty years earlier.
I was virtually flipping through some old swimsuit issues online when I noticed something about 1977. Every suit in the magazine, including the cover, was a one-piecer. (Click on the “VIEW THIS ISSUE” link, and you’ll get a nifty interactive window.)At first, I figured that it was a coincidence, made possible by the more modest attitude and shorter pictorials of earlier swimsuit issues.
But then I read Jule Campbell’s introduction, under the headline “Tank Heaven for Not So Little Girls.”Annette Kellerman would love it. Tank suits—or racing suits, one-piece suits, maillots—are back. Not that they ever were away; it's just that this year they're what everyone, not only the Enders and Babashoffs, will be wearing. But Annette wouldn't recognize them. Even the new Speedo (above, $27) is super snug and snazzy.
This was only the 14th swimsuit issue, back when the magazine had a lot more “fashion” commentary.
(Annette Kellerman, by the way, was arrested in 1907 for wearing a one-piecer in public—scandalous at the time. A year later, she was named the Perfect Woman by Harvard because of her Venus de Milo body. Thanks, Wikipedia!)Cheryl Tiegs, in her sixth swimsuit issue, and despite appearing on the cover two years earlier, only appears in one photo:…which is slipped in under a couple photos of cover girl Lena Kansbod.There are four shots each of Lena and the refreshingly named Barbara Minty:Barbara (in that last pic, anyway) bears a striking resemblance to 2011 SI model contestant Tamiris Freitas.An entire issue dedicated to one-piecers. Who knew?
I feel confident we’ll never see the likes of it again. One-piecers are the giant pandas of the swimsuit issue. You’re just as likely to see models not wearing suits at all.But something warms my heart to know that three beautiful, sheathed models graced SI’s pages 35 years ago.