Vintage Swimsuit Parade

Late last year I was asked to produce a vintage swimwear parade as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of North Sydney swimming pool. When it was opened in 1936, North Sydney Olympic Pool was hailed as the ‘wonder pool of Australia’ because of the high standard of its facilities and the sophistication of its modern filtration system – at that time one of the most advanced in the world.

Vintage swimsuit parade for North Sydney Swimming Pool photos Louise Whelan

In a country such as Australia public pools are not just recreational facilities but a space that allows communities to combine swimming with other leisure pursuits . North Sydney Olympic pool is in a spectacular location, with its fantastic views and facilities it is a well known Sydney landmark overlooking Sydney Harbour, next door to Luna Park and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. What a perfect environment for a swimsuit parade.

Vintage Allsorts Models in action - photos Louise Whelan

Vintage Swimsuit Parade - photos Louise Whelan

The 20th century revolutionised swimwear with designers, inventors, and retailers developing new silhouettes and textiles for all types of swimming activities so I wanted to create a retrospective parade which paid tribute to the wide spectrum of fabrics , colours and designs encompassed by Australian swimsuit fashions.

Model Meelah Hamilton in a fabulous 60's ensemble - Photos Louise Whelan

All of the costumes for the parade were sourced from the incredible array of vintage garments housed in the private archives of THE VINTAGE CLOTHING SHOP. Owners Lorraine Foster and Grayson Cole have a particular love for vintage swimwear so the resource of outfits available to work with showcased the different styles and designs in active leisure wear , meant to both conceal ,display and to excite. Designs have seemed to have gotten smaller along with the ability and desire to show more skin.


Selecting only original and authentic garments from the 1980s through to the 1930s, The styles seen in this parade run the gamut from gamine to vixen. Some are relatively modest, others full-on pin-up girl worthy beguiling, leaving just a hint to the imagination. All, however, share in common the fact that they are beautiful, well-tailored, elegant, feminine, and marvellously appealing.

Swing Dancing as part of the vintage swimsuit parade photos Louise Whelan

Kira Hu-la-la performing as part of the parade -photos Brendan Mcmullan from BJMphotography

Vintage Allsorts models -photos Brendan Mcmullan from BJMphotography

Vintage Allsorts models - photos Louise Whelan

As women’s swim wear witnessed a gradual evolutionary process, men’s swim wear also underwent many changes over time. From the beginning men’s swim wear was distinctly different from the female’s suit, with pronounced characteristics of boxiness and uniformity keeping the gender properties defined in contrast with the exaggerated curves of the women’s wear. However with women’s suits becoming more flamboyant than ever during the 1950’s and beyond, the male bathing costume was not to be outdone, resulting an explosion of colour patterns and fancy detailing which began to blur the gender lines.

Vintage Allsorts Models - photos Louise Whelan

Vintage Allsorts Models - photos Louise Whelan

Kira Hu-la-la performing as part of the parade PhotosBrendan Mcmullan from BJMphotography

Vintage Allsorts’ team of talented performers really brought the parade to life ,creating a fun and , sentimental splashback story, set to a quirky soundtrack and taking you on a time travelling trip ‘backwards through the looking glass’ – with a few surprises in store thanks to the Go-Go talents of the Go-gettes , Kira Carden’s Hula Hoops and a swing dance display from Swingtime Dancers. Thank you to all involved.




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