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It is 1824, the sun is shining and the sky is blue as in the better days, and the waves go back and forth with the patience of someone who can do the same thing every day. There is a woman walking on the beach who appears to be willing to go beyond the shore. It’s Marie-Caroline de  Berry, the first woman in history to swim in the sea. Until then, no woman had ever dared to get so close to the water, for many reasons: first of all, the non-emancipation of women, and secondly because the suntan was prohibited and considered vulgar and a mark of the lower class that worked in the fields, i.e. the farmers. In the past, the beach look was very complex and far from being comfortable; women used to wear woolen garments accompanied by hats, gloves, umbrellas, heavy socks and leather shoes. With the passing of time, swimwear became lighter and all those pieces of clothing were replaced by the classic white and blue striped “swimming costume” (basically what Jean Paul Gaultier chose as a symbol for  the communication of his brand). Once more, we cannot say that women and men were free when it came to swimming in the sea. For those who don’t know it, it was Coco Chanel who set women free, not only from the constraints of the clothes, but especially from those of society, bringing a great revolution. She made the suntan fashionable, proposing in the 1920s shorts and low-cut shirts for women who had to be proud of their amber skin and stop hiding themselves under woolen garments and sun-shade umbrellas. Finally, in the 1930s the suntan was no longer a taboo and manufacturers of swimsuits began to fight to have testimonials who know how to represent this new ideal of beauty properly. We passed from wool to the production of new fibers, and the creation of the “trikini”: something in between a one-piece swimsuit and a bikini (which was invented in France only in 1946). What happened in Italy? The Catholic morality was still dominant and the Interior Minister of that time, Mario Scelba, ordered the police to check that the look of women on the beach respected the decorum. But as the world teaches us, it is impossible to stop evolution, and while the government used  censorship on the bikini, people approved it. Of course they did! This was strongly demonstrated during “Miss Italia”, where Lucia Bosé (the winner in 1947) and Sophia Loren (1950) showed all their beauty in their bikinis.

Miss-Italia-Lucia-Bose Sophia-Loren-miss-italia The image of the woman had changed: curves were no longer to hide, Italian movies were populated by oversized actresses (Bosé, Lollobrigida, Pampanini), Marilyn Monroe became a symbol of beauty, Brigitte Bardot revolutionized the 1960s by overcoming some archaic ideas still entrenched in society. Then came the thong, invented in Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s, the topless and the exaggerated suntan  of the 1980s, the beach as a lifestyle. The swimsuit has now entered the life of each one of us, the market offers many different kinds, cuts and colors, and it has become a true piece of clothing. So I found myself wearing it for The Washing Diary project, which for a shy person like me is not easy. Consider that there were 10 people looking at me, as well as a photographer waiting for me to look good enough to take a shot, and the nomination for the “log of wood” awards is mine. Although I have to admit, I did pretty well and this great shot proves it. When we talk about swimsuits, the main fabrics used for their manufacturing are lycra and lastex along with other stretch fabrics that adapt well to the curves of the body. Nylon is certainly the best one: it is light, it fits perfectly on the body, it is very durable, it absorbs little moisture and dries very quickly. The downside is that it has low resistance to sunlight and it degradates rather fast. Lycra (also called “spandex”) is a perfect solution for swimsuits because its elasticity is unique and tends to shape the body  making it look thinner. Let me guess. You are feeling a burning desire to go check the label of your swimsuits, so that you can blame the composition of the fabric instead of the many mojitos you drank, right? Before you do it, I have a question for you: does anyone of you wash their swimsuits in the washing machine? So far, I’ve never done it for fear of ruining them, but now Miele has come with the solution, with its washing machines and dryers equipped with the unique honeycomb drum to ensure a delicate treatment of even the most delicate fabrics. In this context, also the detergent plays a vital role and it is always very important to choose one that regenerate the fibers preventing the degradation due to chlorine. Miele has created a special detergent for outdoor clothing, also ideal for your swimsuit, because it penetrates well into the fabric fibers preserving its elasticity. In order to always have our bikini ready for use, it is also ideal to use Miele dryer that, thanks to its honeycomb drum, creates a thin film of air between the drum and the laundry that reduces the friction of the garment during the drying cycle, drying it to perfection and preserving its shape. All you have to do is enjoy the sunset over the sea, while sipping a mojito with someone who really deserve to be at your side. Alternatively, remember that crossword puzzles are always a great substitute.

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