Ten years after the death of Amy Winehouse, a bikini worn by the soul singer is set to join those of Marilyn Monroe, Scarlett Johansson and countless other celebrities in a south-west German town that calls itself the “capital of swimwear.”
The Bikini Art Museum in Bad Rappenau is set to soon display a coral-coloured two-piece by Amy Winehouse after curators bought the bikini with striking metal rings at November 6 and 7 auctions in Beverly Hills for 1,250 dollars.
“The Amy Winehouse bikini will be added to the BikiniArtMuseum’s largest collection of swimwear in the world,” said a spokesperson for the museum, noting that it would be on display in the first half of 2022.
The English singer, known for soulful songs like “Back to Black” and “Rehab”, died in 2011 at the age of 27. More than 800 Winehouse mementos went under the hammer at a two-day auction earlier in November.
The world’s first bikini museum, by its own account, is located between the cities of Frankfurt and Stuttgart, and displays some of the most valuable bikinis in the history of swimwear.
Among the exhibits are the golden two-piece by bikini inventor Louis Reard and two bikinis worn by film stars Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot.
Rather than trying to pull in readers of the Victoria’s Secret catalogue, the so-called Bikini Art Museum is trying to focus on the cultural history of swimwear and how designs have changed from 1870 to the present.
Of around 1,200 exhibits spread over 1,500 square metres of exhibition space, the museum’s highlight is probably a collection of 12 of the original 16 two-piece models developed on July 5, 1946 by bikini inventor Louis Reard.
Preempting the shock it would cause, the French designer named his explosive new design after Bikini Atoll, the Marshall Islands site where atomic bomb testing had taken place the same year. July 5 has since been named National Bikini Day.
The museum’s curators say the story of the bikini is not just one of fashion trends and beach culture, but also of arrests, scandals and the gradual emancipation of women.
Beyond modern swimwear, the museum also traces bathing culture back to the towel-and-string approach in the Middle Ages and to the bathing carts of the 18th century.
In addition to a massive amount of swimwear, future visitors can expect to see multimedia exhibits, works of art and historical ads for bikinis.
The Regensburg entrepreneur Alexander Ruscheinsky behind the museum has been researching the subject with his team of curators for more than five years.