Kelowna museum exhibition on history of swimwear

Babes and Bathers opens this week at Okanagan Heritage Museum.

Bikinis, swim trunks and speedos are a common sight along the Okanagan Lake beaches every summer.

People strut their stuff in swimwear of all different forms, shapes and sizes.

And it is the subject of a new exhibition at the Okanagan Heritage Museum in Kelowna called ‘Babes and Bathers.’

Offering a history of swimming wear, Babes and Bathers explores a past century of trends in swimwear.

Before swimsuits were invented, men typically swam naked while women wore voluminous, light weight dresses.

All that changed in the mid-1800s. The first swimsuits came out at that time, covering the body from neck to ankles, as modesty was de rigeur.

As the decades passed, new fashion materials for swimwear were created and swimsuits became more revealing.

Exhibition curator Ivan Sayers brings an extensive collection of men’s and women’s swimsuits from the late 1800s to the 1980s to create the Babes and Bathers exhibit.

The exhibition runs from June 8 to Sept. 3.

There will be an exhibit opening celebration on Thursday, June 7, 7 to 8:9 p.m., at the museum, 470 Queensway Ave. in Kelowna. Light refreshments will be served.

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