Bikini exhibition sure to be a tops show

17 Jul


By Leah McCarthy, Bond University journalism student

Iconic swimwear designer Karen Neilsen is archiving the development and history of the bikini on the Gold Coast for an exhibition later this year.

Karen is taking on the enormous task of archiving the design path of the Gold Coast bikini beginning in the 1950s up until 2000s with her project ‘Home of the Bikini’.

The owner of swimwear label Karen Neilsen Collection has a long and involved history in the swimwear industry, beginning in 1973. She has designed, produced, modeled and owned her own labels over the years.

“The bikini was made famous by a lady named Paula Stafford, right here in Surfers on the Gold Coast,” said Karen.

“My point is, Surfers Paradise was known everywhere as the home of bikini, what I’m trying to do is bring back those days, and document what brought us from then up until now.”


Karen will be bringing together an entire archive of photos from the Gold Coast, documenting the changes made in swimwear from each era of the bikini, as well as a personal collection of swimwear.

“I’m sourcing photos from designers, models that worked for me, friends of mine and voluntary submissions,” she said.

“I’m hoping to have an exhibition run at the Gold Coast Arts Centre over the Christmas period this summer. I would also love to put together a coffee table book.”

To see a collection of the archived photos, visit the Karen Neilsen website or Instagram page, her Facebook page.

Captions: Karen Neilsen (top) in Surfers Paradise circa 1971 and (inset) at Marineland, 1975


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