Remembering Brigitte Bardot, Fashion Icon

Brigitte Bardot wearing her famous wide headband on the set of Contempt in Italy, 1963. Photo: Cinémathèque française; from Brigitte Bardot: My Life in Fashion

Brigitte Bardot was a 15-year-old ballet student at the Conservatoire de Paris when she covered a French issue of Elle magazine. A few years later, in 1956, she played a sexually liberated woman in the film And God Created Woman and became an icon. A 1959 Esquire essay argued Bardot wasn’t just a “locomotive of women’s history” — she was, according to writer Simone de Beauvoir, the most liberated woman in postwar France.

As a fixture in the fashion world, Bardot was dressed by designers like Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, and Pierre Cardin. She also popularized the bikini and invented her own windswept take on the beehive. In a rare interview published in Henry-Jean Servat’s book Brigitte Bardot: My Life in Fashion, out November 8 from Flammarion, Bardot explains her signature hairstyle: “I couldn’t get my bun right, and there were lots of strands of hair dangling down and annoying me, so I thought it would be a good idea to tease them so they framed my face,” she says. “And so I invented the choucroute beehive.”

The new collection traces Bardot’s style in nearly 300 pages of photographs throughout her career and private life — on photo shoots, film sets, and visits with Queen Elizabeth II and Charles de Gaulle. Click ahead to preview the book.