Remembering Salvador Dalí’s Strange Swimwear, Just in Time for Summer

Salvador Dali

Just in time for bikini season, Mental Floss turns our attention to the strange swimwear stylings of Salvador Dalí. A video of Dalí’s designs, aptly titled “Nightmare Beachwear” (and embedded below), has actually been floating around the Internet for a few years, but it’s weird enough to be worth another look. According to Dr. Elliott H. King, a professor at Washington and Lee University and a leading Dalí scholar, the video comes from a 1965 fashion show in Paris. Apparently, Dalí came to an agreement with Wisconsin clothing manufacturer Jack A. Winter to produce a line of women’s clothing for him, and it was unveiled in this unusual show.

It is unknown whether or not Winter was pleased with the results, but they certainly can’t be described as commercial. Highlights include a model whose chest has been bound to appear completely flat, a model with eyes painted over her breasts, and another who inexplicably carries an inflatable baseball catcher on her back. According to King, “Mr. Winter was a sports enthusiast… so perhaps that combined with the fact that the designs were for sportswear helps explain the blow-up balloon baseball catcher the model wears around her shoulders.” Yes, that certainly clears it up.

The video also features a hilarious shot of Dalí methodically measuring the flatness of the model’s breasts after outfitting her with his creation. The one thing we will say is that today’s pressure on women to get their bodies “bikini ready” might be entirely different had Dalí stuck with fashion design.

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