One of the women most responsible for the popular vintage-inspired swimsuit aesthetic today is actress and swimmer Esther Williams. Although she is best known for roles in films such as "Take Me Out To The Ball Game," "Ziegfeld Follies" and "Million Dollar Mermaid," Williams was an Olympic-level competitive swimmer before becoming a Hollywood movie star (she won three US National Championships and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1966). She still swims on a daily basis but skips the competition (unless, that is, to watch Michael Phelps win yet another gold medal). Williams also has a line of retro swimsuits that were inspired by the ones she wore in her famous water spectacle flicks.
To celebrate the bathing suit style icon's 91st birthday on August 8th, we've asked Williams to take a look back at some of her fashion moments over the years. What exactly does she think of her swimsuits from the 1940s and 1950s today? Take a peek in our gallery below to find out and check out Williams' autobiography "Million Dollar Mermaid" for more.
"It was such a pretty picture. I was just a swimmer, like Michael Phelps." Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
"Hollywood took my movies seriously by 1944. The box office proved that." MoviePix
"Hollywood was big in 1955. I think Grace (Kelly) married the Prince of Monaco that year. When I left MGM, they gave my dressing room to Grace Kelly. I wrote on the mirror with a lipstick, 'It's all yours now. Love, Esther.'" Getty Images
"I was never a "former" swimmer. Swimming is the only sport you can do from your first bath to your last." MoviePix
On "The Milton Berle Show," 1955
"Milton was difficult. He didn't understand swimmers." NBC Universal via Getty Images
"The AquaSpecial from London's Wembly Stadium had a 60 share. Not too shabby!" NBC via Getty Images
"Betty [Garrett] and I thought it was a hoot after all these years. We were good friends. By the way, The AquaLillies are wearing swimwear from The Esther Williams Swimwear Collection. They were designed from my films. Aren't they classy? I always thought that a swimsuit is the least amount of clothing you can ever wear in public, so it better look good!" FilmMagic