Summer’s itsy bitsy miracle: The bikini [SLIDESHOW]

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In celebrity-land, it’s already midsummer. Stars go on holiday to escape allegedly grueling schedules while we lowly commoners see their glamorous vacations splashed across every magazine imaginable.

The upside of the onslaught of tabloid photos (yes, one exists), is that it inspired us to step back and celebrate summer’s most treasured perk: the bikini.

Out of pure hostility, we decided to ignore all of the current tabloid regulars and instead focus on the classic looks that have, over time, inspired and influenced the suits we see today.

Starting with the early, slightly less alluring looks, we progress from the initial era of the suit to the emergence of the revealing bombshell two piece, the ultimate California girl look, and finally to all things skimpy and scandalous, made famous by Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue.

Here are the bikinis, tankinis, camikinis, monokinis and bandinis of the past several decades, modeled by the ladies who made them famous: