french Figure: Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot, born on the 28th September 1934, is one of the best known sex symbols of the 1950s and 60s.

Bardot (frequently known by her initials, B.B) was an aspiring ballerina in her youth and was accepted to the Conservatoire de Paris, a prestigious music, dance and theatre college in Paris. Her career started at 15, when she was featured on the front cover of Elle magazine, where she caught the eye of future husband, Roger Vadim, who introduced her to film world. Although divorced a few years later, they continued to have a professional relationship where Bardot featured in many films under his direction, such as Don Juan 73 and Les Bijoutiers du clair de lune.

Her role in And God Created Woman (Et Dieu… créa la femme) launched her into worldwide fame where she attracted an international audience. She starred in many films under popular and influential directors, for example in Jean-Luc Godard’s film Le Mépris in 1963.

Bardot’s singing career started in 1962, and she released several singles and albums in 1960s and 1970s. A popular summer song of hers was ‘Le soleil de ma vie’ – a duet with Sacha Distel.

Brigitte Bardot retired in 1970s to St Tropez in the south of France and devoted her life to animal rights, setting up the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals in 1986. Her work with this foundation has led to bans on importing seal fur into Europe and the French government banning the import of ivory.

Today Bardot’s influence as a fashion icon can still be seen, with the ‘off-the-shoulder’ style named the ‘Bardot’.