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Brigitte Bardot Movie style icon

January 22, 2015

Brigitte Bardot or BB as she was known, was an actress, model and singer during the 50s and 60s, but she was more than that. After “And God Created Woman” (1956) she was launched into the spotlight and with her sultry looks and devil may care attitude, she would set the world alight with her modern attitude to sexual freedom and her relaxed style of dress.

Conservative upbringing replaced by a life of freedom

She had grown up in an affluent Catholic middle class family and studied ballet at the Paris Conservatory from the age of 13, but that is where her conventional life ended.

Brigitte Bardot studio portrait 1957

bb studio portrait 1957

Bardot and Vadim

At 16 she met Roger Vadim and her parents were against the match from the start, as they felt she was too young. When they refused to allow her to marry, Bardot put her head in the gas oven threatening to kill herself. She would go on to be plagued by depression throughout her life, making at least 4 attempts on her life.

 

Brigitte_Bardot in 1962

Brigitte_Bardot in 1962.Image By MGM (ebay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lovers and affairs

As well as Vadim she would go on to have many other lovers, going on to have an affair with her co-star in “And God Created Woman,” Jean Louis Trintignant. She would have 4 husbands and 1 child, admitting that she was not cut out to be a mother and leaving custody to the father of her child.

 

Brigitte Bardot in A Very Private Affair,1962. By Unknown (Mondadori) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Brigitte Bardot in A Very Private Affair,1962.
By Unknown (Mondadori) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sexual freedom

Bardot made no secret of her love of sexual freedom and all that it entailed, she was not burdened by the fact that she was a woman, and lived her life and her love life as if she were a man. Simone de Beavoir would say about Bardot that “In the game of love, she is as much a hunter as she is prey.”BB played men at their own game and enjoyed a sexual freedom many women in the 50s and early 60s had not enjoyed, at least not so publicly.

 

Brigitte Bardot Movie style icon

Brigitte Bardot in Spoleto, Italy, August 11, 1961
Photo by Pierluigi Praturlon\Reporters Associati & Archivi\Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Brigitte Bardot Movie style icon

We must not forget that as well as an actress and singer, Bardot was a style icon. While most women still wore their hair in tightly coiffured up-dos, Bardot wore hers loose, or up in a ponytail. Fifties fashion had been dominated by matching accessories with tailored suits and matching bags and shoes.

 

French actress Brigitte Bardot wearing a transparent top and a feather boa, 1968

Brigitte Bardot wearing a transparent top and a feather boa, 1968

Ballerina flats and Bardot

From the fifties Bardot wore flat shoes, ballerina shoes, that are still worn today, especially the style that Bardot created herself by working with French shoe company Repetto. She wanted the shoe to be more cut away at the front to reveal more of the toes. The lower cut was more flattering and she would wear them with cut-off jeans, shirts and pedal pushers.

Signature look

Bardot created a signature look – and stuck to it. Black eyes with plenty of kohl around the edge of the eye, to create a sultry look with loose hair, slightly backcombed and bouffanted at the back, or up in a loose do with layers hanging down. Lipstick worn to accentuate her famous pout, and clothes would always accentuate her hourglass figure. Simple dresses, jeans, close fitting sweaters, and wide necklines were favoured,which exposed the shoulders. Her staples were striped shirts, pedal pushers, pencil skirts and button down tops.

 

Brigitte Bardot Movie style icon

Brigitte Bardot and Sami Frey at Saint-Tropez, 1963.
This illustration was made by (User:Royonx) and released under the license(s) stated above. [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Want to emulate BBs style?

If you’re looking to emulate Bardot’s style then are a few ground rules to follow. You need to create your own style – and stick to it. Adding the gamine style and sultry look of Bardot to your closet can be done, if you follow a few simple rules that are easy to understand. It’s a real skill to make your clothes look sexy, but without revealing anything, but remember – less is more.

Floppy hats with loose hair worn to the shoulders, a black headband or tied up loosely in an up-do and a cocktail dress that shows off your curves, are all Bardot essentials. More importantly, try to stay away from trends and stick to your own style – please yourself and dress in a way that makes you feel good.

 

Remember, Bardot was a free spirit in both her personal life and in terms of her style. She dressed to please herself and this in turn made her even more alluring.

Of course, Bardot has now left the heady life of the film star far behind. She gave up working in films in 1973, and in 1987 said that “I gave my life and beauty to men, I am now giving my wisdom and experience, the best of myself, to animals.”

 

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