The Munich photographer, author, producer and actor Roger Fritz was solemnly admitted to the International Board of Swimwear History (IBoSH) on 27 November 2019 in the completely crowded conference room of the Best Western Hotel on the grounds of the BikiniARTmuseum. In her laudation, Dr. Jessica Ruscheinsky praised the highlights of Roger Fritz's more than half a century of work as a versatile exceptional talent. Fritz has worked with Luchino Visconti, Romy Schneider, Hannelore Elsner, Iris Berben and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, among others. Fritz was born in Mannheim in 1936 and trained as a wholesale merchant. The encounter with the photographer Herbert List in 1955 laid the foundation for Roger Fritz's career as a photographer. Already at the age of 20 he won the first prize at Photokina, two years later the next first prize followed. In 1961 he studied at the UFA-Nachwuchsschule für Schauspiel und Direie in Berlin. 1963 Roger Fritz shoots his first short film "Verstummte Stimmen" and is awarded the Bundesfilmpreis, his second short film "Zimmer im Grünen" receives the title "besonders wertvoll". The 1969 film "Mädchen mit Gewalt" was also awarded with the Bundesfilmpreis for which Roger Fritz was director and producer. Up to the present Roger Fritz has been awarded prizes for his artistic work, so that it is impossible to name all the prizes in their entirety.
With the BikiniARTmuseum, a central institution is being created in which the entire historical, but also contemporary knowledge around the globe on the subject of swimwear and bathing culture is gathered. This archive should not only be available to visitors to the museum, but also to all interested parties, in particular schoolchildren, students, fashion enthusiasts, curators and journalists. In order to achieve all of the goals set, an advisory board of high-calibre experts is put together, the "International Board of Swimwear History". The recording is part of a festive ceremony. With the opening of the BikiniARTmuseum, the committee begins its work. In addition to the transfer of knowledge and the support of environmental projects, it is important to set accents on the topic of "the liberation of women from comfortable swimwear". The freedoms that exist especially in Western countries are not a matter of course worldwide. The International Board of Swimwear History includes Roger Fritz, Paris fashion expert Ghislaine Rayer and curator Helmut Schuster from Miami.
In its permanent exhibition, the BikiniARTmuseum shows photographs by Roger Fritz showing celebrities of showbiz and the film industry: Elke Sommer, Luchino Visconti or Udo Lindenberg in swimwear.
Lecture by Marie Helbing: Bikini in the spotlight
The second event was designed by Marie Helbing from the Landesmuseum Stuttgart with her lecture "Bikini in the Spotlight - How the Two Piece Conquered the Catwalk". "The fashion show is the culmination of a creative process, the results of which are presented to a broad public every six months during fashion weeks. The lecture dealt with the history of the fashion show since its emergence in the middle of the 19th century and placed a special focus on the bikini. Although the introduction in 1946 was a sensation, it was not an economic success. It was not until the 1960s that the fashion world and thus also the acceptance of the bikini changed in the course of demographic, economic and social change. The new youth wanted to express the feeling of youthfulness through their clothes. The pioneers were Mary Quant, Paco Rabanne, André Courréges and Jacques Esterel, who created a new freedom of movement with their designs. The bikini's final triumphal march began in the 1990s, when the supermodels embodied the ideal to be achieved in the bikini. This ideal is currently increasingly being questioned. Victoira's Secret is not only struggling with declining sales figures, but also cancelled the annual fashion show, which was long regarded as the highlight. Other companies do it better. This is not least due to a change in demand from customers who do not recognize themselves in the angels of the underwear company. Fashion is the constituent basis of the staging next to the catwalk. The fact that social influences also play a major role in this has been demonstrated by the example of the bikini, which was initially frowned upon and has become a popular product on the catwalk. It is currently being used to break with the prevailing ideal." (Summary by Marie Helbing, Landesmuseum Stuttgart) The lecture was followed by lively discussions, which you and I already started in the afternoon. Marie Helbing showed with her lecture that today the woman has to identify herself with the swimsuit model on the catwalk in order for the fashion to be sold. This affects the presentation of swimwear in the present, which currently displaces models with perfect bodies. Reinhold Weinmann, Director of the BikiniARTmuseum, led the audience through the evening and praised the lecture as a "great achievement, because the scientific treatment of the topic is still in its infancy internationally".
The person of Marie Helbing
Marie Helbing's research focuses on consumer history, fashion history, fashion shows, fashion in museums and Berlin clothing. She is currently a scientific trainee at the Landesmuseum Württemberg, where she is working on the implementation of the Great State Exhibition on Fashion, which will open in October 2020. At the same time, she is writing her dissertation on the visibility strategies of Berlin clothing at the beginning of the 20th century.