Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Brigitte Bardot, Then and Now

I’ve been going to St. Tropez since 1977. It’s a Lovemark for me and many others of my generation. I bought a house there five years ago and spend a few weeks there every summer. St. Tropez’s most famous resident is Brigitte Bardot, who still lives there today. There’s a terrific exhibition of her life and impact on French culture at the Espace Rendez-Vous des Lices. It runs until October 31, and it’s a great excuse to visit this exquisite city.

The exhibition covers her entire life: her childhood, her early acting days and her music career, straight through to her animal rights activism. It includes a wealth of personal items, such as previously unpublished letters, as well as paintings, photographs and sculptures of her from over the years that few have ever seen.

“An unsuspecting, well-mannered young lady with a perfect figure, she rose from starlet to star, turned the world on its head and caused nothing short of a revolution. Brigitte will always be known for her sensuality and emotions that helped us learn to forget the war and construct a new epoch, break with social conventions and embrace love itself . . . in her own way, without pretense, natural, carefree, ethereal, direct yet hesitant, Brigitte’s very nature and her life story is also that of our society over the course of the 20th century.” (Exhibition Overview)

As a lifelong BB devotee, I loved this exhibition. She was, along with Marilyn Monroe, Jackie O and Princess Diana, one of the most photographed women on the planet, “her image, distributed so widely, infinitely reproduced, and accompanied by text in all languages . . . The Bardot phenomenon propagated the myth of a liberated woman who extols emotional freedom for the masses.” If you’re in St. Tropez, don’t miss it.