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The Heat - Sex ArticlesThe Heat - Sex Articles

Meet Lingerie Legend, Rudi Gernreich

By Jade 10 months ago. Posted in Sex Toy Guides
Meet Lingerie Legend, Rudi Gernreich

Very few items of lingerie boast a history as scandal-ridden as the g-string. From being the go-to costume piece for New York’s infamous showgirls who were ordered to ‘cover up’ by the city’s mayor in 1939, to being the accessory that ignited one of the most polarizing presidential indiscretions of the 90s – the g-string has long been at the cornerstone of popular culture.

Despite statistics that show sales of the g-string have declined among the younger millennial market, it remains one of the staple lingerie items in wardrobes across the world.

When you consider clothing resembling the G-string date back as far as 42,000 BC, it’s journey to mainstream shopfronts is as diverse as the iterations of its style, cut and fashion.

Rudi Gernreish – using design to advance sexual freedom

But all that pales in comparison to the life of Rudi Gernreish, the Austrian-born American fashion designer who patented the design of the g-string/thong in 1979.

The patent application came five years after Rudi designed the first g-string bikini, which was famously modelled by Lisa Taylor and Jerry Hall on a beach.

Jerry Hall g-string bikini Models Lisa Taylor and Jerry Hall photographed in 1975 Helmut Newton/Condé Nast Archives Image via:

The Fashion Evolution

Rudi initially learnt about textiles from his aunt who owned a dress shop, and spent much of his childhood in Australia developing a love for Austrian and Venetian fashion while learning to sketch.

In 1938, following the German Anschluss, Rudi, aged 16, arrived in Los Angeles with his mother as a Jewish refugee.

After taking a job at the morgue of Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, where he washed the bodies in preparation for an autopsy, Rudi returned to his love of fashion in 1942 when he joined Lester Horton’s dance company as both a dancer and designer.

Over the next decade Rudi worked with a range of design houses and companies from New York to Los Angeles, honing his skills and awaiting his break in the fashion industry.

Along the way, Rudi garnered a reputation for his ability to use clothes as a means of expression and social commentary. His designs served to inspire and empower the wearer, rather than feed into the sexualization of the human body or further stigmatise women’s bodies.

While his career is regarded by many as ‘unconventional’, Rudi’s work paved the way for modern lingerie that incorporated comfort rather than fashion. This most notably included his vision for transforming women’s swimwear, as reviewed by Sports Illustrated in their December 1962 edition:

"He has turned the dancer's leotard into a swimsuit that frees the body. In the process, he has ripped out the boning and wiring that made American swimsuits seagoing corsets"

As well as being the designer of the g-string, his fashion accolades include being the first designer to use cutouts, vinyl and plastic in clothing.

Throughout the 50s and 60s he paved the way for the design of unisex clothes by showing how his designs could be worn by both males and females, before designing a swimsuit without a built-in bra to give women greater freedom and comfort when swimming.

Rudi’s foray into swimsuits saw him develop the monokini – the first women’s topless swimsuit that featured a fitted bottom and two thin straps that joined around the neck. While only 300 of the controversial monokinis were sold, and reportedly only two were worn in public, they are said to be the driving force behind the rise of topless nightclubs during the late 1960s in the United States.

His passion for celebrating the natural female form gained greater precedence in 1964 when he designed the ‘No Bra’, made from soft, sheer material that allowed breasts to be held in their natural shape, rather than be molded by underwire and stiff material. The success of the No Bra was followed by the No-Side Bra, No Back Bra and No Front far, made with deep, plunging sides, backs and fronts respectively to cater for dresses that were backless or had deep armholes and low necklines.

And perhaps most bizarre of all Rudi’s designs was the ‘pubkini’ – a bikini bottom with a window at the front that revealed the wearer’s public hair.

Food with a fashionable twist

Moving on from textiles, Rudi spent the later years of his life creating gourmet soups, including one recipe for a red-pepper soup where the cold soup was served inside the red-pepper cases.

Not bad for a fella who, to this day, is recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the ALL-TIME 100 Fashion Icons and has been honoured for his contribution to the fashion industry with a plaque along Seventh Avenue in New York.

If you’re feeling inspired by Rudi’s creativity to add to your lingerie collection, ATMS stocks a range of male and female g-strings and lingerie sets, that you can view here.

They include ATMS’s best selling items:


The one size fits all Sheer Delight Crotchless G-String features a ruffled lace waistband, sexy thong back, and revealing crotchless cutout with pearls; while the Amore Lacy Pearl Thong simplifies the design, but increases the pleasure with a row of smooth, erotic pearls that press against the clitoris and labia with every movement.

Channel a touch of elegance with the Skimpy Tranca Thong. Made from stunning soft lace with diamante detail, this g-string is the perfect addition to a wedding lingerie ensemble, or for a special occasion. Mixing romance with sultry seduction, the pink g-string, made from filigree lace, is perfect for those looking to show off their femininity. The low-cut design accentuates the hips and compliments the female figure.

Those looking to combine sex with confidence should look no further than Baci Lingerie’s lace strappy bra with crotchless g-string and two-piece lace babydoll set with g-string. The name ‘Baci’ itself is derived from the Italian word ‘kisses’ and as a brand, Baci prides itself on celebrating women. Its matching monochrome lingerie set is eye catching, and perfect for those looking to add a subtle detail to their outfit, thanks to the contrasting straps; while the sheer floral babydoll set features a seductive cut-out design that flatters the figure.


Remember to check the size chart as sizes and cuts may vary between brands and styles of lingerie.

Sources: A Brief (and NSFW!) History of the Thong: The Surprisingly Unisex History Of The Thong: Rudi Gerneich - G-String For Men - A Brief History G-String -

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