Following a brief stint as a refugee camp after the 1906 earthquake, the area was touted as a resort. A small amusement park, Playland at the Beach, was built where Cabrillo and Balboa streets now end. Major development occurred in the 1920s and 1930s with construction of the Great Highway and housing in the adjacent Sunset and Richmond Districts. After the destruction of the Sutro Baths in 1966, the neighborhood lost its resort appeal; the amusement park was also torn down in 1972, to be replaced by apartment blocks and a supermarket in the 1990s.
The bikini was banned on the French Atlantic coastline, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Australia, and was prohibited or discouraged in a number of US states. The United States Motion Picture Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, enforced from 1934, allowed two-piece gowns but prohibited the display of navels in Hollywood films. The National Legion of Decency, a Roman Catholic body guarding over American media content, also pressured Hollywood and foreign film producers to keep bikinis from being featured in Hollywood movies. As late as 1959, Anne Cole, one of the United States' largest swimsuit designers, said, "It's nothing more than a G-string. It's at the razor's edge of decency." The Hays Code was abandoned by the mid-1960s, and with it the prohibition of female navel exposure, as well as other restrictions. The influence of the National Legion of Decency also waned by the 1960s.
In post-World War II Europe, Western Europeans enjoyed their first war-free summer in many years. French designers sought to deliver fashions that matched the liberated mood of the people. Fabric was still in short supply, and in an endeavor to resurrect swimwear sales, two French designers – Jacques Heim and Louis Réard – almost simultaneously launched new two-piece swimsuit designs in 1946. Heim launched a two-piece swimsuit design in Paris that he called the atome, after the smallest known particle of matter. He announced that it was the "world's smallest bathing suit." Although briefer than the two-piece swimsuits of the 1930s, the bottom of Heim's new two-piece beach costume still covered the wearer's navel.
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