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The 10 most iconic swimsuits

They aren’t always practical, but they sure are memorable. From Bo Derek to Halle Berry, see which stars sported the best swimsuits.

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The most iconic swimsuits

The best bathing suits aren’t always practical — Raquel Welch’s prehistoric two-piece wouldn’t have lasted long in open waters — but they’re impossible to forget. With a little help from InStyle fashion director Hal Rubenstein, we've compiled a slideshow of the most iconic swimsuits ever.

Elizabeth Taylor, 'Suddenly, Last Summer,' 1959
Yes, the plot was rather melodramatic. But the pure white tank that Elizabeth Taylor wore in 1959's "Suddenly, Last Summer" — in which she played a mental patient disturbed after witnessing her cousin's shocking death — was nothing short of perfection.
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Raquel Welch, 'One Million Years B.C.,' 1966

"If women in prehistoric times really looked and dressed like this," Rubenstein said of the animal-skin two-piece Raquel Welch wore in "One Million Years B.C" in 1966, "a lot more people today would be studying cave paintings. As fabulous as it is ludicrous, it may be film's most famous bathing suit that never got wet."
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Ursula Andress, 'Dr. No,' 1962

The first-ever Bond girl, in 1962's "Dr. No," set the bar pretty high. (Indeed, this was Rubenstein's pick for most iconic suit.) "As Honey Rider," he said, "Ursula Andress stepped out of the Caribbean and into the fantasies of every guy longing to be James Bond. The matching knife belt was a cute touch."
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Farrah Fawcett, 1976

To promote her instant celebrity in "Charlie's Angels," a Cleveland poster company arranged to shoot Fawcett in a bikini at her house in 1976. As Rubenstein explained, "She wasn't comfortable so exposed, so she pulled this red one-piece from her closet. The company hated the pic, but Farrah had final approval (and retained photo rights). Smart girl: The poster sold over 12 million copies and is still for sale today."
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Bo Derek, '10,' 1979

"Her perfect score has never been beaten," Rubenstein said of Bo Derek's appearance in a nude maillot in the 1979 movie "10."

"She may have been the best thing to happen to sales of the one-piece," he added.
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Phoebe Cates, 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High,' 1982

In 1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," Phoebe Cates plays a sophisticated teenager with, as Rubenstein said, "a skimpy bikini as red as her lipstick." The scene in which she emerges in slow motion from a friend's backyard pool is still a classic.
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Carrie Fisher, 'Return of the Jedi,' 1983

After being captured by Jabba the Hutt in 1983's "Return of the Jedi," Princess Leia was forced to wear this bikini Rubenstein described as "swirling gold and chain link bondage gear." The over-the-top getup made actress Carrie Fisher a sex symbol, and copies of the so-called "slave girl costume" are still sold online today.
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Pamela Anderson, 'Baywatch,' 1995

As Rubenstein pointed out, Pamela Anderson wasn't even in the original cast of the syndicated '90s series "Baywatch." But she certainly looked good in her "sky-high-cut" red suit. "Who can imagine 'Babewatch' without her?" Rubenstein asked.
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Halle Berry, 'Die Another Day,' 2002

For 2002's "Die Another Day," Oscar winner Halle Berry paid homage to the first Bond girl, Ursula Andress. She made her entrance in an unforgettable orange-red bikini, complete with a knife belt, "and killed," Rubenstein said, "both literally and figuratively."
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Jessica Alba, 'Into the Blue,' 2005

"Nobody remembers the film," Rubenstein said of 2005's "Into the Blue," starring Jessica Alba. "It had something to do with sunken treasure, drugs, bad guys, and a water park called Atlantis." But when this promo picture of Jessica Alba wearing an un-matched two-piece was released, "plenty of people took notice. No doubt bikini separates gained in popularity."
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