The Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit defined the 1970’s. Of course, the Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit also benefited from the star it clung to, as it helped the Charlie’s Angels icon become a world-wide sex symbol. Even though she moved on to other projects, had a few bumps along the way, and finally succumbed to disease, her famed poster may be what she is most remembered for. Normally, attire like that doesn’t have an historic place in culture, at least not in the long term. Yet the Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit is an exception, at least according to the Smithsonian.
The Smithsonian has acquired many pop culture symbols over the year, to reflect their place in American lore. Their latest addition is one of the most intensity studied pieces of clothing in the last 35 years or so.
When the Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit was first immortalized in 1976, it turned the blonde bombshell into the most famous pinup girl in the world. Her famed pose was pretty much required to be in the room of every teenage boy in America. Even now, it is still a popular image, although the actress is no longer alive to enjoy it.
After her death almost a year and a half ago, her family decided to donate several of her items to the Smithsonian. The collection includes copies of Charlie’s Angels scripts, magazine covers, and memorabilia that includes a doll and a jigsaw puzzle.
But the Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit is the obvious jewel of the batch. It may be 36 years old, but it still carries a lot of star power. In fact, Syracuse TV and pop culture professor Robert Thompson called the poster “one of the defining images of the 70’s”
As such, the suit and an original copy of the poster will hang in the Smithsonian’s pop culture exhibit for all time. It now goes alongside Dorothy’s red slippers, Archie Bunker’s chair, Fonzie’s jacket, and Evel Knievel’s Harley, among other famed items.
Still, the Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit took a more unique road to get here. Pinup posters are rarely made with this kind of impact in mind – especially since they usually serve other purposes. But in spite of Charlie’s Angels, and the actress’s other shows and movies, this poster may have been the most defining project of her career.
While pictures of the Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit are still popular fixtures, the Smithsonian is now the exclusive home of the outfit itself. However, fans may still prefer to see how it looked on its old wearer, instead of on a mannequin.
Los Angeles Times- “Farrah Fawcett’s red swimsuit donated to Smithsonian”
E! Online- “Farrah Fawcett’s Red Swimsuit Goes to Washington”