expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

6 October 2006

Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot was born in Paris in 1934.

Her profesional life began with modelling work for fashion magazines in her teens. The modelling eventually lead to movie roles and by the mid 1950's, she had starred in numerous French films. These roles typically cast her as an ingenue or a siren, often in various states of undress. Her then-husband and film director Roger Vadim was dissatisfied with these fluffy parts and wanted to see Brigitte in a more serious role. He cast her in the film And God Created Woman (Et Dieu... crea la femme) in 1956, a film that launched her international career and made Brigitte Bardot an overnight sensation in the United States.

The film pushed the boundaries of sex in American cinema and her popularity there was unprecedented for a foreign actress. She became an icon of femininity and sexuality of the Marilyn Monroe calibre. The American press swarmed her at public appearances, noting her every move. Time magazine hailed her as "the princess of pout, the countess of come hither..." but American enthusiasm for Brigitte Bardot never translated itself into a career for her in Hollywood. Although she appeared in over 50 foreign films during the span of her career, the sexually charged image she had was too risqué for the Doris Day-era Hollywood.

Brigitte Bardot's musical career began in 1962, recording over 70 songs between then and 1982. Her musical style in the 1960's varied between classic french chansons and pop-rock yé-yé. Brigitte Bardot's music was as sexually provocative as her films. Her most popular songs were collaborations with famed French songwriting genius Serge Gainsbourg, with whom she was romantically involved with for a time. The music from this period was, in my opinion, her best.

On New Year's Eve, 1967, a color TV special was broadcast in France. Featuring videos of her most popular songs, it was years ahead of it's time, predecessing the MTV music video. The Brigitte Bardot Show was broadcast a year later in the United States.

Michèle Richard is known to have been a big fan of Brigitte Bardot's in the late 60's and early 70's, she even collected photos of hers at one time. I've always suspected this admiration to have played a role in Michèle's decision to go blonde in 1974. At Maryanne's party, Michèle herself recounted the tale of a trip to Europe in the late 60's. She had somehow obtained Brigitte Bardot's personal phone number and was set to call her up once in Paris.

Upon her first attempt, a nervous Michèle Richard became overwhelmed. She lost her courage and never ended up calling Brigitte Bardot!

I have included 2 videos for the Expo Lounge visitor's enjoyment. The first is is the opening theme from the Brigitte Bardot Show in 1968. The second is the video for Brigitte Bardot's notorious Harley Davidson, a song written by Serge Gainsbourg.

I can only imagine impressionable young men watching this in the late 60's...

photos: www.chez.com



Anonymous Anonymous said...

these are her best photos ever! I love them!

3:22 am  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

Aren't they fab?

11:02 am  
Blogger stinkypaw said...

Great pictures! Time wasn't that kind to her though... Michèle aged much better than BB did!

10:38 pm  
Blogger mod*mom said...

holysmokes she was cool

1:47 am  

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