Bikini News Daily 12/3
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Iconic Gold Coast fashion designer Paula Stafford, who introduced the bikini to Australia, has died at the age of 102

Stafford's fashion empire included swimwear, day and evening wear, and men's wear, and by 1964 it was the second largest industry on the Gold Coast behind sand mining.

But when she cut her first one-piece swimsuit in half, Paula Stafford said she had not even "heard the name 'bikini'".

"I called mine a two-piece," she said in a 2014 interview "Eventually I learned to call them bikinis. It seemed to be a good marketing idea."

While the bikini was invented in 1946 by Frenchman Louis Réard, Stafford popularised the then-controversial swimwear design and put the Gold Coast on the map in the process.

While she made her first two-piece for personal use, Stafford said "people kept wanting what I was wearing".

"So I decided it might be a good idea to have an extra income," she said.

"I just thought I was doing something normal that I enjoyed doing, and I was so fortunate that all the family came into the business with me."

The bikini surged to prominence in 1952 when a woman wearing a Stafford design was ordered to leave a beach for being immodest.

Stafford responded by sending five women wearing her bikinis to the beach in what became an infamous PR stunt. "I never paid for publicity, the media came to me," she said.

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