Rankin for Sports Illustrated
Heidi Klum is one of the most iconic Sports Illustrated models ever — and for the 50th anniversary issue of the magazine, she proves it by modeling a bikini featuring her first cover (1998!) on one triangle and the first-ever SI cover starring Babette March on the other. Oh, and Elle Macpherson makes a cameo on the string bottom! Swimsuit designer Lisa Cabrinha gives us all the exclusive scoop on the custom creation.
“When I heard it was going to be the 50th anniversary, I wanted to come up with something really unique,” Cabrinha, co-owner of Letarte Swimwear, tells PEOPLE. “I thought, the covers are what make every issue so important. I laid it out first on the computer, and I had to figure out how I could print the fabric. I knew if I printed in the U.S. it would get leaked. So I actually sent it to Portugal to a small printing company over there.”
Cabrinha, who has worked with SI for the past 14 years (including Kate Upton’s memorable bikini bottoms in 2013) didn’t even tell the team what she had in mind. “I wanted to surprise the girls at Sports Illustrated so I sent them the suit [without any notice]. They had no idea!”
She also created a one-piece (which the Klum wears in an online exclusive) and another bikini featuring all 50 covers for the new coffee table book,
Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful
. But unfortunately for fans of the suits, Klum will be the last to model them. “I live in Hawaii, and all the guys I know are like ‘Can you make us some board shorts out of that fabric?'” Cabrinha shares. “But they won’t be sold. They were only for the anniversary.”
As for Klum, she loved honoring SI in the look. “I can’t even tell you how excited I am that I get to wear the suit with all the beautiful covers that Sports Illustrated has ever done,” she says in the clip below. “I love it. I’ve done Sports Illustrated so many times and I’ve traveled the world. That I get to do this issue is pretty special.”
What do you think of the suit? Are you a fan of this year’s cover? Share your thoughts below!