This black swimsuit is based on the design worn and championed by Annette Kellermann for use by women in the early 1900s. It was made by Asbury Mills in the USA and marketed as 'Annette Kellermann swimming tights'. The black silk overdress was worn to preserve modesty in public when out of the water.
Annette Kellerman (1886-1975) was pivotal in changing the style of swimsuit worn by women in the early 1900s. She promoted active glamour and physical fitness for women and in 1907 controversially appeared in public on Revere Beach, Boston, wearing a man's one-piece unitard swimsuit with her legs uncovered. The ensuing publicity saw a shift in public opinion over what was considered acceptable for women to wear when bathing and swimming in public. Cumbersome bathing dresses were replaced by this style of modern swimsuit which allowed greater freedom of movement in the water.