Givenchy for Jantzen Antibes Bathing Suit

The more one collects, the more you realize that it really is all about the good stuff. If you read any book or article targeted toward the beginning collector you will read that you should, “Buy the best you can afford.” It’s true.

I do a lot of thinking about the pieces that really need to be represented in my collection. One such item is a glamorous black 1950s bathing suit. I actually had one – a Jantzen – but it just did not give off the sophisticated vibe I was after. I sold it.

So I was back at square one, with no black bathing suit of my dreams. Luckily, I have friends.

I have written about Style and Salvage before. Mel and Jeff are two of the most knowledgeable vintage sellers I know, and to have them in my own backyard is an incredible thing. They have sourcing secrets that go way beyond the local resources, and I’m always amazed at the incredible things they turn up.

On a visit a while back I knew I’d found my black 1950s bathing suit.

From 1956 through 1959 Jantzen made a line of bathing suits, some with matching cover-ups and skirts. French couturier Hubert de Givenchy designed suits for the line in 1957 and 1958.

For Jantzen and only for Jantzen, Givenchy, the free-spirited ringleader of creative art in the Paris couture, has designed a marvelous collection of avant-garde swim suits. This is one, “Antibes”, in fabulous new elasticized crepe, in inspirational modern art colors. $25

Twenty-five dollars was pretty pricey for a bathing suit in 1957. The inflation calculator puts it at almost $230 in 2019 dollars. That could be why these are so rarely seen today.

Sometimes good design means knowing when and when not to embellish.  Givenchy knew this suit needed only a small bow to anchor the straps.

Thanks to Style and Salvage for the use of their photos, and especially for the exceptionally fine suit!


Filed under Collecting, Designers, Sportswear, Summer Sports

12 responses to “Givenchy for Jantzen Antibes Bathing Suit

  1. Absolutely gorgeous ~ congratulations!


  2. Sharon Heller

    Ooh la la!


  3. One can see quality in this.


  4. Jacq Staubs

    This bathing suit really says it all Fabulous!What movie/actress do you see it on? Audrey /Sabrina ?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent research! One can chat about ‘cute’, but the marvel is really about how Jantzen collaborated with Givenchy in the first place, and in 1957! Wow! The second gem, was the re-discovery. This isn’t a middle ages thing, it was just a few decades ago, and we all forgot about it. I doubt that even Jantzen have a clue / recollection. Dedicated collectors, archivists, fashion historians never cease to amaze me with mysteries they unfold. Bless them all. We are richer for it. Only one question… Designed in Paris, but where were they made? FYI: The St Louis Globe Democrat (Feb 21, 1957) reported these “made quite a stir in the audience.”. Thank you!


  6. lovely and René Grau advertisement is cute too.
    Excellent advice about buying ‘the best you can afford’.
    We have a vintage Jantzen swimming costume,
    but it doesn’t have the élan of the Givenchy ; )


  7. paul rennie

    That’s a lovely swimsuit, with wonderful labels too.
    If I may, here’s a link to an old post of mine about the cultural history of the modern pin-up and bathing beauty. This is short text of an illustrated talk I gave at Christies, London, about mermaids and bathing beauties in posters and popular culture…the post includes a mention for Jantzen and Rene Gruau. So, your Givenchy fits right in. Thanks.

    Also, here is an old post about the appeal of vintage labels…I’ve been known to buy something just for it’s label

    Happy hunting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful to have that ad showing the details of the swimsuit. I love the boy short legs and the fun of a covered up front and surprise low back. Subtlety is so often missing nowadays. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow. That is stunning! Congratulations on this superb addition to your collection.


  10. Brikka

    Oh, that’s gorgeous! Related-ish, did you happen to see this recent New York Times travel article that took inspiration from Jantzen and its diving girl logo?

    Liked by 1 person

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