Criss-cross Halter Defined
The criss-cross halter is similar to a normal halter except that the neck straps criss-cross in front of the neck. The effect of this variation is to fill in the center of the chest and to lower the tension axis of the front of the garment.
As an adjective, the criss-cross halter can also be applied to the fastening of a dress around the neck, although it is implied that the belly would be bared in the front (CL3010).
Inverse cleavage or more precisely cleavage neathage, is also a frequent result when the halter cups are made sufficiently narrow (ZX3K90BS).
We will keep an eye out for these, dear Surfer, and suspect that others, like Carol Lombard (CL3010) will turn up in Burlesque, the Musical Theater, and Hollywood. Lombard is a sassy early 1930s Hollywood star whose roles often seem to involve playing the shimming type. The idea that costume silhouettes migrate from the dance theater to the beach (admittedly with some changes in fabric) is a Bikini Science hypothesis of which this is a delightfully obscure example. This idea is developed in more detail in the Bikini Science Times (1925-1930).
By the late 1960s this silhouette has come full circle, as Marisa Mell demonstrates (ME6910).
Although the criss-cross emerges plays a role in theater costumes it does not appear in swimwear until the early 1970s (SI7110).
The neck straps may be thin strings or more bulky fabric. Note on this subject how the one side wraps behind the other (RV7950) and tightens. Appearances by this silhouette continue to be rare throughout the 1980s (H8548-56).
More strident developments do not occur until the early 1990s, when the bikini rustles with new kinds of tensions (SM9416, ZX3K90BS, MPA204).
Like the neck-ring halter, the criss-cross often tightly collars the neck. The way to recognize the difference between the two species is the intent of the tension: In a neck-ring the loop of fabric or metal around the neck provides a vertical, hanging support for the halter front. In a criss-cross the tension is sideways and downward away from the neck; it is the side of the neck that is providing the tension point for the downward angle. Many would argue that the criss-cross, especially in its more string embodiments, is inherently unstable, whereas the neck-ring provides a much more secure anchor.
It shares a strong bond with the pretzel maillot.