Happy birthday, bikini! At 65, you're still hot

July 5, 2011 at 4:31 PM ET

A model wearing a red bikini, circa 1970. (Photo by Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

The bikini is 65 -- and barely showing its age.

65 years ago, French designer Louis Reard unveiled the first two-piece in Paris on July 5. It wasn't until the 1960s that Americans adopted the belly-baring style.

In the 1962 James Bond film "Dr. No," Ursula Andress walked smoothly out of the waves in a now-famous white bikini -- and straight into the permanent memories of anyone who witnessed the scene. 

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A model walks the runway at the most recent Miami Fashion Week show.

For a time, the bikini was even controlled by movie studios , who mandated that two-piece suits were allowed on-screen, but exposed navels were a no-no.

Since those heady early days, there have been compromises made.

Take the tankini, which tries to tread some middle ground by combining midriff-covering tank top with bikini bottom. Or the cut-out one-piece -- popularized by celebs like Paris Hilton and the Kardashians -- which stops just short of baring as much as the bikini does. 

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Then, a vintage bikini from the 1940s.

But nothing approaches the classic, controversial, even irresistible bikini. 

What do you think?