Historical information

This striking pool party ensemble from Australian swimwear company Watersun was designed by Carmela DiBernado, nee Savino, for the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973.

Polish-born designer David Waters first began producing swimwear in 1952. His mother Halina had recently opened a stall at Melbourne Queen Victoria Markets and was looking for swimsuits to sell; unable to find any she liked, she asked David to design something. He began making swimming costumes using his mother's sewing machine, in between his shifts working at a knitting factory. He had soon set up a small business in his parents' home, cutting patterns in one room while a machinist sewed them together in the next. His company, which he named Watersun, would become an iconic Australian swimwear label.

During the early 1960s, Watersun developed its "Unquestionable Bra", an inbuilt moulded bra which was marketed as giving wearers a more natural bustline than other labels. The company was also known for its matching swimwear and beachwear, producing dresses, kaftans, tops and skirts in identical colours and prints to those used for many of its swimsuits. By 1967, the company was reportedly one of Australia's two biggest swimwear manufacturers, with over one hundred employees.

Watersun was sold to Ada Productions in 1984 and was later acquired by Trackerjack Australasia.

This swimsuit is believed to be one of a large quantity of samples, seconds and unsold Ada Productions stock donated to Brighton Historical Society in late 1990 by Brian Samuel, who worked at the company between 1979 and 1990.

Physical description

Pool party ensemble consisting of a swimsuit (.1) and robe dress (.2), both black with silver trim. Dress has a crossover front, fastening at side waist, with v-neck at front and plunging back. Swimsuit has a v-neck, with silver trim extending forming an X-shape across the body.

Inscriptions & markings

Label (identical in both items), blue text on white: “Watersun / SIZE 10 / BUST 32 / Made in Australia”