The now iconic issue was dreamed up in 1964 by editor Andre Laguerre to fill the winter months, a dead time for sports.
The first issue featured model Babette March and a five-page layout. Despite the popularity of the issue, it took the magazine 33 years to figure out that it should exclusively feature models photographed in skimpy swimsuits in exotic locals.
Over the years, landing the cover has been a major boon to any model’s career, and some of the world’s top models have had the honor, from Heidi Klum (98) and Christie Brinkley, a triple cover girl, to Elle Macpherson, who also had the honor three years running.
As the issue soared in popularity, the photos also become more risqué, and models now typically pose for some photos topless, although strategically covered. Still the poses are undeniably hot.