The Second Wave Feminist movement in the 1960s focused on the equality between male and female, an equality taken literally by designer Rudi Gernreich. As a result, the Monokini design was introduced in 1964. Gernreich's design exposed model Peggy Moffitt’s unclothed breasts. Her waist down to her hips and crotch were covered with a high-rise panty look, suspended around her neck with a thin strip of fabric that intersected at the centre front of the Monokini bottoms.
The Monokini visually equalized female to male, by equal topless skin exposure in swimwear apparel. This exposed equality was a significant first step in the birth of gender-neutralized fashions, and political equality in North America and Europe. The Monokini was a physical representation of the burgeoning acceptance of androgynous fashions- a trend that is powerful in fashion today.
Ryerson fashion students - Olivia Sparks, Olivia Taylor, Nadine Mosallum, and Eva Bennett - made, modelled, and shot a Monokini recreation to be displayed at the Textile Museum of Canada in 2015, as a study of nudity in fashion history.
Complete Monokini process book: