DEFINING AN ERA OF FEMININITY AND BREAKING ALL CODES OF HER TIME, BRIGITTE BARDOT IS UNMATCHED IN HER SIGNIFICANCE AS SEX SYMBOL, ICON OF FEMININE EMANCIPATION AND FASHION REVOLUTION.
Having been recognised as one of the most beautiful women in the world, her unique style finds itself echoed in fashion to this day, making her iconic look as prevalent today as it was in the 1950’s and 60’s.
BALLET TO BIG SCREEN
Brigitte was first discovered as a 15 year-old, whilst enrolled in her third year as ballet dancer in the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris. Having featured in a fashion show organised by her mother’s friend, her particular beauty was quickly spotted by the editor of Elle magazine, who subsequently featured the young Bardot on their cover. It is at this point that the burgeoning film director Roger Vadim was so struck by her look that whilst on one hand planning (and proceeding) to marry Bardot upon her 18th birthday, he also showed her pictures to the writer and director Marc Allegrét, who offered Bardot her first part in a film. Bardot subsequently appeared in 17 films between 1952 and 1956, and the rest is history as they say.
CULT OF BARDOT
Whilst during her early career, her film roles and publicity photographs already contributed to Bardot’s image as a beacon of sensuality, it wasn’t until her 1956 lead in Vadim’s cult erotic drama “And God Created Women” that Bardot would become an international star fully unfolding into her role as ultimate “sex kitten”. But the allure of Bardot was more than just a fascination with her physical form. She successfully used fashion to challenge the social norms of the day, emphasising a woman’s empowerment through freedom of expression. She was the first to wear a mini-skirt to the Elysée Palace and often walked around barefoot. Her now iconic look of unkempt blonde locks and cat-eye make-up, created by herself, also broke with the aesthetic of controlled elegance that was predominant when Bardot burst on the scene, underlining her fully fledged rejection of a classic domestic lifestyle.
ST. TROPEZ AND STYLE
The influence Bardot had on fashion trends was immense and drew heavily on her love of the then sleepy southern French fishing village of St. Tropez and her passion for ballet. Both her plunging “Bardot-neckline” revealing of both shoulders and her popularization of the Bikini are a direct result of life in her chosen home by the sea in St. Tropez. She also revamped gingham and stripes and catapulted the dance-shoe makers Repetto onto the fashion scene, after having asked Rose Repetto to create a pair of outdoor shoes for her role in “When God Created Woman.” This Cendrillon model is still a staple in the Repetto collection to this day.
With Bardot and her revolutionary style and character endorsing a free life, her impact on the world was immense. Her look has become a style in its own right, merging chic with destruction and sensuality with force. It is echoed by the likes of Claudia Schiffer and Kate Moss and continues to inspire generations of women. The Bardot style channels self-assertion as well as empowerment through the celebration of feminine forms and because of this is as alluring today as it was in the 1950’s. It is no surprise therefor that despite the star being in her 80’s now, her youthful image and all the dreams connected with this are still as strong as ever, immortalised not only by a dizzying amount of films, songs and artworks, but also through the legacy of opposition to social constraints and conservatism.
Brigitte Bardot is known for her “choucroute” (Sauerkraut) hairstyle of blond artificially messy long hair and cat-eye make up. She also turned the 1950’s upside down through her sensual and non-conformist fashion and lifestyle.
Brigitte Bardot became an international film star know for her “sex kitten” film roles. But Bardot was also a strong emancipator channeling her energies fist into the rights for women’s freedom of expression and later into animal rights activism.
Charles de Gaulle and Brigitte Bardot were about to meet for the first time in 1967. Le Général had invited the film star to the Elysée Palace and in shocking breach of Elysée protocol, which at the time banned trousers for women as evening wear, Bardot arrived dressed as a Napoleonic hussar. With gold braiding and more than a dozen rows of shiny buttons covering her chest, she had her long blond mane loose over her shoulders, and her eyes neatly circled with black kohl eyeliner.
Brigitte Bardot was born 28 September 1934 in Paris into a strict catholic family. Her father was an engineer.
Bardot attends ballet classes with the Russian choreographer Boris Knyazev at the Conservatoire National de Danse in Paris for a period of three years.
Bardot walks and dances in a fashion show of her mother’s friend in Paris and is spotted by the editor of Elle magazine.
Bardot makes her film debut in “Crazy for Love” and marries Roger Vadim.
Through her role in “And God Created Women” Bardot is catapulted onto the international arena and becomes an international phenomenon.
Bardot divorces Roger Vadim and starts a relationship with Co-Star Jean-Louis Trintignant.
Bardot is divorcing Jaques Charrier. Her son is being raised by Charrier’s family following their divorce.
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