Éric Piolle, mayor EELV of Grenoble, submits to his municipal council this Monday an amendment to the internal regulations of municipal swimming pools to allow “women to dress or dress as they wish.” It thus opens the possibility to women frequenting Grenoble public swimming pools to wear this covering garment.
The Council of State had annulled a municipal decree of the city of Villeneuve-Loubet prohibiting the wearing of the burkini in the summer of 2016. Since then, the mayors of Rennes, in 2018, and Surgères, in 2019, have authorized the burkini in the swimming pools of their cities.
The word and brand “burkini” was registered in 2006 by an Australian designer of Lebanese origin, Aheeda Zanetti, who created several garments that allow Muslim women to combine sports and so-called “modest” outfits, such as the “hijab,” a tracksuit including a hijab.
Two years after creating her first models, she coined the term, a portmanteau of “burqa” and “bikini.” But this swimsuit is not strictly speaking a burqa since it is intended to hide the face.
But if the burkini covers the body, with its set consisting of pants, a tunic, and a cap (sometimes directly integrated into the tunic), it leaves the face uncovered. Composed of lightweight lycra fabric, it can look like a surf or diving suit.
Worn most often in a religious context, the burkini is worn by women who do not wish to reveal their bodies while continuing to bathe or protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun on the skin. In 2016, designer Aheda Zanetti claimed that these non-Muslim customers, eager to defend themselves from UVs, represented 40% of her market.