Brigitte Bardot: a true style icon!

The most recognisable European face during the 50s and 60s, the sex symbol from France and of course a true style icon: Brigitte Bardot! Even though she turned 87 last year and announced her retirement all the way back in 1973, the influence of her iconic looks is still evident in contemporary (retro) fashion and these same looks have also inspired me ;-). 

Who is Brigitte Bardot?

Brigitte Bardot was born in Paris on September 28th, 1934 where she and her sister grew up in a strict family. Besides singing, she also had a great passion for dancing. In her early teens she was actually training to be a ballerina and took up modelling on the side, which paved the way for her acting career. Blessed with gorgeous looks that didn’t go unnoticed, she graced the cover of Elle magazine in 1950. She was working as a model when she met director Roger Vadim, who just couldn’t take his eyes off her and noticed her potential (who wouldn't ;-)). In 1952 Brigitte appeared in her first feature film but it was the 1956 film 'Et Dieu... Créa la Femme' (And God Created Woman), which was directed by her then-husband Roger Vadim that was her big breakthrough. By the time she was 40, she had welcomed a son, had a string of failed marriages and made a total of 48 films and decided to retire from acting and modelling. She now lives a reclusive life in beautiful St. Tropez and has dedicated herself to animal rights.

Iconic, timeless BB looks

In my opinion, Brigitte Bardot is a true style icon! Besides all of the gorgeous photos, fabulous films and her work as an activist, she has also left her mark on the fashion industry. You could describe her style as daring and sexy mixed with a cute girly touch. Despite her standout looks, Brigitte Bardot often dressed in plain jeans paired with a T-shirt. And let’s be honest…even dressed in the most basic outfits, she simply oozed sex appeal and looked super HOT. ;-). Always a real trendsetter, Brigitte Bardot pioneered some trends that are still around today. Below I want to introduce you to 6 of those enduring and much-talked about trends.

1. BB gingham

The plaid print, once reserved for table cloths, quickly became a wardrobe must-have after one particularly memorable moment. Aged 25, Brigitte Bardot was planning on marrying actor Jacques Charrier and asked couturier Jacques Esterel to design her wedding dress, On the big day, June 18th 1959, Brigitte appears alongside her new husband dressed in a pink and white gingham dress with a puffy petticoat lining. And you’ve guessed it… that summer all of Paris was dressed in gingham print. Later Jacques Esterel, under the direction of costume designer Rosine Delamare, also designed the outfits worn by Brigitte Bardot in the role of Virginie in Voulez-vous danser avec moi? (Come Dance with Me). One of those outfits was the gingham swing skirt that was destined to become one of cinema’s most iconic outfits. Nowadays many of us simply think of this plaid print as the 'BB gingham' print.

2. The Breton stripe

Before Brigitte Bardot helped transform Saint-Tropez into one of the hottest vacation spots for the international jet set, it was a cosy fishing village that she had visited ever since she was young. Thanks to her lead role in the 1956 film Et Dieu... Créa la Femme (And God Created Woman) she had many young women looking up to her. Both on screen and in her personal life, she liked wearing stripes, classic sailor-style shirts and capri pants that were representative of the fishing town. This resulted in the so-called Riviera style, which became a real trend. A trend that wasn’t just popular in the 1960s, but that has stood the test of time.

3. Bardot neckline

The 'Bardot neckline' is a recurring trend that I absolutely love. Brigitte was so well-known for wearing off-shoulder tops and shirts that the off-shoulder neckline now is also known as the ‘Bardot neckline’. The exposed shoulders help create a sassy and sexy look without revealing too much. 

4. Bikinis

Brigitte Bardot popularised the bikini following her bikini-clad appearance in the 1952 film Manina, la fille sans voiles (Manina, the Girl in the Bikini). The year after at the Cannes film festival, she posed at the beach wearing a bikini and as a result she was in almost every paparazzi picture that was taken. Brigitte Bardot really made the modern bikini popular and acceptable in Europe, a gift from Brigitte to women all over the world. Because back in 1949 the bikini was banned in countries like France, Belgium, Italy and Spain and swimwear had to meet certain length requirements. But thanks to the influence of icons like Brigitte Bardot women regained some freedom and were allowed to celebrate their bodies in a gorgeous bikini… or a ''itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot bikini'' like Brian Hyland sang in 1960 ;-).

5. Ballet flats 

If there is one person we have to thank for ballet flats, it would have to be Brigitte Bardot. In 1956 she partnered with the French brand Repetto of which she was a big fan and asked them to design shoes with the look of those worn by ballet dancers. And so the ballet flat was born. ;-). Brigitte completed almost every look with these flat shoes. The perfect finishing touch to her sassy, girly and sexy look. Basically the typical French ''Je ne sais quoi'' look. A lasting trend that I’m thrilled about… stylish and super comfy. 

6. Wild hair and smokey eyes

Brigitte Bardot’s signature long, voluminous and blond tousled tresses are still the envy of many a woman. Brigitte backcombed her hair to add lots of volume. The wilder the look, the better. She then refined this wild look with a ribbon, head bandshair scarves or a floppy hat for a girly twist. She often completed her look with a smouldering eye-look. A dramatic, smokey cat eye.

Bardot your wardrobe

Can’t get enough of these characteristic Brigitte Bardot looks? In our collection you will find everything you need to make your wardrobe ‘Bardot-proof’ ;-). Recreate one of these iconic looks or add your own twist. The great thing about her most-worn items is that they are timeless and that makes them easy to pair with other pieces in your wardrobe. This summer I’ll be strutting my stuff in this 70s Soledad Top in Black by Bunny, my absolute favourite! ''Fashion may not be a weapon of the woman, but at least it gives her the ammunition!'' - Brigitte Bardot

Source images: @brigittebardotofficial en @brigittebardots (Instagram)