The Bikini: Still Sexy After All These Years

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The bikini turns 60 this week, but she doesn't look a day over 21.

It may be itsy-bitsy, but the bikini has left a rather large mark on pop culture, which is exactly what Frenchmen Louis Heard and Jacques Heim must have been thinking back in 1946. Heard had noticed women rolling up their bathing suits to try and get a better tan. And then, voila! The bikini made its first splash.

When World War II finally came to an end, those two pieces of fabric became a symbol of female expression. And in 1960, the bikini found an anthem -- "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" -- and was catapulted into stardom.

"All of a sudden, the war was over and there was this newfound freedom," said Kelly Killoren Bensimone, author of "The Bikini Book." "People, they were exposing their skin to the sun and they really, really wanted to do something completely different. And the bikini was so different -- it was such a shock and such a scandal."

And who better to fuel the scandal than actress Ursula Andress? When the bikini-clad beauty emerged from the ocean in the first James Bond film, men wanted her and women wanted to be her.

But actresses weren't the only ones wearing them. More recently, professional athlete and model Gabrielle Reece spiked volleyballs clad in a two-piece, proving the bikini is not just a passing fancy.

"The bikini is not held to a trend," Bensimone said. "It's not held to the 60s, the 70s, the 80s or the 90s. It's held to a certain lifestyle, a lifestyle that exemplifies freedom and fun."

ABC News' Marysol Castro reported this story for "Good Morning America Weekend Edition."

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