In 1974, though, backsides were under attack via California legislation outlawing nude sunbathing. A radical fashion designer and Austrian expat in Hollywood, Rudi Gernreich, had a solution: The thong swimsuit. “The Thong is my response to a contradiction in our society: nudity is here; lots of people want to swim and sun themselves in the nude; also lots of people are still offended by public nudity,” he wrote in a ’70s manifesto, citing Brazilian swimwear, Sumo wrestlers’ mawashis, and thong sandals as references for his then-trademarked design. At the time, Gernreich made his unisex thong swimsuit in black and brown fast-drying nylon, revolutionizing the look of SoCal beaches and the limits of acceptable taste. Continue reading