“Summer gives birth to new people…harmonious, unrestrained. Pristinely beautiful. Between air, water, and sun. A swimsuit is part of them. Their ways. Their beauties.” reads an advertising brochure used by the Varaždin VIS factory in the 1970s to entice customers to buy its swimsuits.
Swimwear has undoubtedly evolved throughout history, and many new swimwear trends are met with outrage – well, compared to the swimsuits of the past. The Nikola Tesla Technical Museum has thus published a series of photos of how 1970s swimsuits in Croatia looked, where they were bought, and how manufacturers lured customers to buy them.
The first Yugoslavian swimwear and terrycloth show was held at the Hotel Slavija in Borik near Zadar at the end of March 1970. The collections presented by the manufacturers were distinguished by ‘exclusive designs’ and ‘very stable colors,’ with the women featured being very attractive and feminine.
In addition to Lisca, another participant in the show was the Varaždin VIS factory, which at the time even offered to make custom designs on orders. Umbrellas from the VIS factory, which cost as much as a vacuum cleaner (a fifth of someone’s month’s salary back then), were taken to the beach, ALKA Frigoterm small portable coolers made by Jugopastika kept food cool, while Badel’s Nara or Inka or Droga’s Fla-Vor-Aid were the drink of choice. Coppertone Tropical Blend from Belupo or Nivea from the NEVA factory in Zagreb was the go-to sun protection brand.
START Magazine wrote about what a summer vacation looked like in the 1970s: “Vacation is not only about relaxing the body but actually activating it. A man in his seventies is mature enough to go to the sea, sail, and find his bay. The era of tourism with air mattress man is passing. People no longer come to the sea to gain weight but regain some of their elasticity and adventure.’
New water activities then included water skiing, windsurfing, and fishing. In 1979, swimming was a skill practiced by 75 percent of respondents in Croatia, more often men than women and younger than older.
Although no one was seen wearing thongs and bikinis at the time, these new swimwear trends caused disbelief, which is best described in the text below:
“The intense heat, which prevailed at the beginning of the month and forced the mercury in the thermometer to an unusual height, so to speak, lured all of Zagreb to the Sava. Especially on Sundays, the number of people from Zagreb on the Sava reaches ten thousand! Everything bustles here, everyone mixes, enters the water, and from the water to the sand to sunbathe. From small children to the elderly, everyone left the city to cool off in the silver foamy waves of the Sava. Even if the city’s swimming pool is huge, and Gospodarič’s has been enlarged, it is still too small to accommodate so many bathers and provide everyone with a cabin. Many come and can’t find a place to undress; they are forced to swim further west of the city swimming area. Life at the swimming pool faithfully reflects Zagreb and all its citizens. Many of them have lunch at the swimming pool, then go to homes or restaurants in the afternoon to have dinner, from the Sava through Zrinjevac to Maksimir and the pleasant and quiet courtyards in Gornji grad.
It’s no wonder that at the crowded Sava swimming area these days, feinschmeckers or gourmands, precisely gourmands, enjoy looking at the young women, those golden fishes, Nymphs, and Sirens in the silvery waters and sigh to themselves: Ah, ah and ah! So they go for a beer so that the wishes live on! That’s why the well-dressed older ladies are outraged by today’s women’s swimsuits. Today, women are almost naked, and when we were their age, we had full bathing suits and socks on our feet just so that no one could see a glimpse of our naked body. Oh, how corrupt the world has become!”
Source: 24 Sata
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