Wondering what to wear to the beach?

Rudi can help….or save you a special beach chair in hell, depending on who’s looking.

While doing research for the second season of Smithsonian Channel’s L.A. Frock Stars, I learned Doris Raymond was going to Chicago to buy a couple rare Rudi’s. I fell in love with this wild man, the same feeling I had when I first heard about Moschino, the Salvador Dali of fashion.

Rudi Gernreich, Austrian-born designer, moved to Los Angeles early in his career. He is the inventor of the weird and fabulous – especially when it comes to bathing suits. Before 1964, the swimsuit was an armored tank of coverage, support, stays, corsets, essentially nailing any jiggly body part down and out of sight.

Then came Rudi G.

It started with the Monokini, a splash of freedom, releasing the body of the bodice-driven bathing suit. Feminists flocked to it. Borat brought it back.

And then he came up with the piece de la resistance. Or rather, piece of no resistance.