rudi gernreich

Documented 1953 Rudi Gernreich Blue Knit Bathing Suit

Rudi Gernreich set so many firsts in fashion it is mind boggling. He was the first to use "cutouts, vinyl, and plastic in clothing. He designed the first thong bathing suit, unisex clothing, the first swimsuit without a built-in bra, the minimalist, soft, transparent No Bra, and the topless monikini. He was a four-time recipient of the Coty American Fashion Critics Award. He produced what is regarded as the first fashion video, Basic Black: William Claxton w/ Peggy Moffitt”, in 1966. He had a long, unconventional, and trend-setting career in fashion design."

This swimsuit and the pink one identical, are each extremely rare and very early examples of his work. They date to 1953 when he would have just begun working for the Westwood Knitting Mills in Los Angeles. This was seven full years prior to the establishment of his own company and even then it was another 4 years after that, that the "Rudi Gernreich" label was born. This makes them remarkably rare and an important and early glimpse into his progression as a designer. The suit was also photoed on Jimmy Mitchell by Tommy Mitchell that same year. This version is a stunning periwinkle bue knit that is cut with a nod to the 30s and 40s. It has a double row of buttons and is unlined with no support within the interior. It has its original gusset and looks to have never been worn as the white nylon gusset is clean and fresh. Excellent condition 

Unlined with a white nylon gusset that shows no signs of wear. It slips on to wear. There is evidence of a nip or two in the wool and some older, very light repairs tot he knit here and there but these are all minor. In order to preserve it in as true a condition as possible it was cold treated to museum standards rather then having it go through a dry cleaning process.

Bust: 17-19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13.5-14.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 17-18.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 14" from top of shoulder strap to waist
Inseam: 13" from waist to inseam

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# S750

Reference Photo: Jimmy Mitchell photographed by Tommy Mitchell, 1953.

This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.

Setting up a layaway is super easy and we are happy to provide this service!

Here's how deposits work on a standard layaway:

  • We require three equal payments of the layaway total. You will be invoiced for the first amount upon request
  • payment two of the remaining balance will be billed two weeks from the date of the initial deposit.
  • The final payment is due two weeks after the second payment and shipping will be billed on this invoice as well.
  • items less then $500, or that are on sale, require a 50% deposit with the final payment due in two weeks from the date of deposit 

Read More

We offer flat rate Standard UPS shipping worldwide. All shipping options are displayed at checkout in the pull down menus provided.

Want it faster?

We offer flat rates for expedited and express shipping options - these will also display at check out and can be selected with the drop down menu during the checkout process.

Read More


Please review all measurements carefully. More often than not, vintage garments do not fit any size category exactly. If in doubt, measure a garment of your own that fits and is a similar cut and compare it's measurements to the listed measurements below.