Chances are you may have seen the viral video of Salvador Dalí’s swimwear line “Nightmare Beachwear.” But why was the famous surrealist designing swimwear in the first place?According to Dr. Elliott H. King, Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at Washington and Lee University and a leading expert in Salvador Dalí, the video dates from a Paris fashion show in May of 1965.
“Dalí had reached an agreement with the Wisconsin clothing manufacturer Jack A. Winter to design a line of clothing that would include beachwear and sportswear,” King wrote in an email to Business Insider. “Winter had founded Jack Winter Inc., which started out producing men’s slacks in the 1930s but became popular as a designer of women’s sportswear.”
The video shows Dalí and his models parading around in his bizarre line of swimsuits. One model wears a painting of two eyes over her breasts, while another appears flat-chested in a binding bikini (Dalí even holds up a cane in the video to demonstrate just how flat her chest is). But perhaps the most bizarre creation is a model who sports an inflatable baseball catcher on her back.
“Mr. Winter was a sports enthusiast,” King says, “so perhaps that combined with the fact that the designs were for sportswear helps explain the blow-up balloon baseball catcher the model wears around her shoulders.”
Some of the inflatable toys even had an afterlife as Dalí’s pool toys at his home at Port Lligat, according to King. As far as he knows, none of the designs were ever mass-produced.
Check out the video if you haven’t seen it yet below.
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