Fashion Profile: Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot became a sex symbol during the late 50s - early 60s because of her elegance conveyed through modelling, acting and singing.
Born: 28th September 1934
Famous for: Becoming an international sex symbol.
Style Characteristics: Soft make-up, bouffant hair, elegant clothing.
Brigitte Bardot was born in Paris in the early 30s, and was introduced to dance at an early age (by her mother, Anne-Marie). Bardot was extremely focused on ballet in particular, and at the age of thirteen was accepted at the Conservatoire de Paris to pursue her dance career.
Although Brigitte wanted to pursue ballet as a career, she became involved in modelling due to her soft, yet striking features.
Modelling soon led Bardot to the world of acting; she appeared in her first film after WW2 and so became an icon by breaking through pre-War boundaries. At a time where fashion, music, art and society in general was changing, Bardot inspired others because of her elegance and talent.
Bardot was first noticed by a young film director, Roger Vadim (who was later to become her first of four husbands). Vadim saw Bardot on the cover of ELLE magazine in 1950 - when she was sixteen years old - and was offered a part in a film.
Although the film was cancelled, Bardot made her film debut in a comedy entitled, "Le Trou Normand" (Crazy for Love). As Brigitte's career began to develop, she gained popularity (and not just in Europe). Bardot's popularity continued to grow as many of her films were dubbed for international release; this made her more accessible as an actress and soon became one of the first European actresses to gain the attention of the media within the United States.
Bardot became a sex symbol because she had an extensive media following; her films, singing and modelling flaunted her sex appeal to the public. As she became most widely known during the 50s and 60s, she became part of the generation of people who challenged accepted behaviour.
Post-war society was changing rapidly, the formation of rock and roll music challenged the strict laws around sexual expression and so other art forms followed this new way of thinking - which is why this era produced so many icons who continue to influence modern society (such as Marilyn Monroe, Mick Jagger, Elvis...).
During her career, Bardot was openly idolised by many other influential people of the time as her body image had a significant impact on fashion trends during the late 50s. She helped make the bikini a popular form of swimwear as well as the "Bardot neckline" (a wide open neck, exposing both shoulders).
Bardot's contributions to the fashion world are endless, she popularised the choucroute hairstyle (beehive) and by doing so, created her recognisable "sex kitten" image. This image was promoted in her seductive thriller "And God Created Woman" (1956) as Bardot was portrayed as a young woman with a high level of sexual energy - "it pushed the limits of censorship in America and the public loved it".
Brigitte Bardot announced her retirement before her 39th birthday, she had appeared in over forty films and recorded several albums. It was in 1973 that Bardot felt it was time to use her fame more effectively and began to promote animal rights (something she is continuing to do, to this day).
Read about other 60s icons here: