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While two-piece swimwear had been around since the early 20th Century, the bikini was officially introduced July 5, 1946. The world? Never the same after that.

We can all thank a Frenchman named Louis Reard, whose idea was to fashion a garment, using as little fabric as possible, that could still be legally worn in public.

As our gallery of celebrity bikini photos shows, his dream lives on to this day.

A French sunbather tries on the bikini in the mid-1940s.

The rest, as they say, is history. Today, 66 years later, his invention is so indoctrinated into the very fabric of our culture that we even have the bikini onesie.

Other July 5 birthdays: Megan Rapinoe (27), Eva Green (32), Huey Lewis (62) and Jersey Shore‘s Pauly D (32), who surely appreciates sharing his with the bikini.

Here are some classic bikinis through the years. Well, the last couple of years, because unlike the marvelous two-piece, THG is still in its relative infancy:

Kate Upton Bikini Photo