Sunday, 4 January 2009

Bardot a screen and fashion icon

It is hard to pinpoint the exact reason why a brunette turned blonde embodied a fashion revolution but that is exactly what Brigitte Bardot did. Look at any image of Bardot and today you can see the style icon's influences - most heavily on Kate Moss, pastiched by Claudia Schiffer and Kylie Minogue - her blend of sex kitten and naturalness was a phenomena at the time of the late 1950s.

Hot Couture: Brigitte Bardot's Fasion Revolution is an essay by Ginette Vincendeau in the book Fashioning Film Stars edited by Rachel Mosely. In it Vincendeau discusses the adoption of Bardot's clothes and hairstyle by other actresses such as Jane Fonda and Catherine Deneuve but more interestingly discusses the rise of her style as anti establishment to the glamorous but matured and structured French fashion of the 1950s.

Bardot was born into a wealthy Parisian family and rose to prominence as a model for Elle magazine. Elle continually portrayed Brigitte as a jeune fille emphasising her youth with pony tails, ballet flats and a knitted hat in contrast to the strictures of Vogue and the dominance of Christian Dior's New Look.

Whilst being marketed in such an innocent and childlike fashion Bardot had secretly married up and coming film director Roger Vadim who built up her career as well as his own. It was Et Dieu...crea la femme which gave both Bardot and Vadim their respective breakthroughs.

If you think Bardot and style then ballet flats, vichy (gingham), broderie anglaise, Capri pants and her association with Saint Tropez. Her film career was secondary to her celebrity. Her ability to be different, her overt sexuality and yet the personification of child like with her clothing choices were contradictions of a new era. Sadly Bardot seemed to have lost her appeal with her third marriage to a far right National party activist and at 73 has not aged particularly well although she has shunned plastic surgery so it difficult to judge given the images we've become used to. She gave up her film career in 1974 and remained living in the south of France and became a big animal welfare supporter and set up her own foundation.


Sharon Rose said...

Hi kate-a great tribute post to a legendary lady!

S.Elisabeth said...

Haha I'm writing a bio on her on my blog.
And she says her appearance now is a result of tanning & smoking. But I actually think she looks great for her age. You can still see the Bardot of the past in her.


enc said...

Interesting. I haven't paid much attention to her personal life. Didn't Jane Fonda also marry Vadim? Or was that someone else?

Bardot's style endures . . . I think I'll always appreciate it.

Make Do Style said...

Enc - Vadim married or bedded everyone in the 60s!