The life of 1950s icon Brigitte Bardot is being celebrated at an exhibition held at the Espace Landowski in Paris. Rosie Khdir takes a closer look at an idol that empowered women the world over.
Brigitte Bardot, famous actress, model, feminist and animal rights activist recently celebrated her 75th birthday, and France is hosting the first exhibition of her life and work as a tribute.
The Carefree Years exhibition includes 2,000 photos, films and other mementos donated both by Brigitte herself and her loved ones. The show is comprised of three sections, the first devoted to her early years at home before the fame, then a look at her glamorous years at the height of stardom and her then retired life, when she dedicated her time and money to animal rights campaigns.
Sights not to be missed include the recreation of her bedroom when she was young, completed with original objects and photos, her portrait by Andy Warhol, donated by her first husband millionaire Gunter Sachs and the infamous gingham wedding dress she wore for her second marriage to Jacques Charrier.
Bardot is extremely touched by the tribute and said she felt:
“Like a little child filled with wonder at a big cake – my 75th birthday cake. This touches me tremendously. It is adorable.”
Bardot shot to fame at a very young age after modelling an Elle cover at just 16 and securing her first film role at 18. She went on to star in many films, some notoriously provocative, in more ways than one. Her role as Juliette, a “demon-driven temptress” in And God Created Woman concreted her position as a liberated woman who did away with post-war prudishness.
She embraced her sexuality and even posed nude for Italian Playboy in an edition to celebrate her 40th birthday. Not only was she a sex symbol, she empowered women and is thought to have greatly influenced their liberation movement during the sixties.
The star inspired many people including singer Bob Dylan and artist Christine Motta who created a statue of her in Buzios, Brazil. She popularised the bikini through her modelling and also through many of her early films including Woman without a Veil, 1952. The starlet is still considered one of the most desirable women of all time, a point enhanced by her entry into Empire magazine’s 100 Sexiest Film Stars in 2007.
Since stepping out of the limelight Bardot focuses all her energy and money on helping her beloved animals. This St Tropez party girl has left behind the glitz and glam and turned to a life much more fulfilling to her. She said:
“If I hadn’t had the animals to look after, I think I would’ve quickly stopped enjoying it, like Marilyn (Monroe) or like Romy (Schneider).”
Brigitte Bardot: Les Annees Insouciance runs from now until the January 31st 2010.
Image credit: mirririr