Brigitte Bardot at 80: still outrageous, outspoken and controversial

Since her first public appearance in 1950, BB, the screen icon who turned her back on film fame, has courted scandal.

The woman Paris-Match deemed “immoral, from head to toe” in 1958, is turning 80 in a few days. “The most beautiful woman in the world” may have chosen to leave the limelight in 1973, at the peak of her fame and beauty, to dedicate her life to animals, yet Brigitte Bardot has never ceased to be a controversial figure.

Some anecdotes speak volumes. On the evening of 7 December 1967, Paris held its breath. Charles de Gaulle and Brigitte Bardot were about to meet for the first time. Le général had invited the film star to the Elysée Palace. And in shocking breach of Elysée protocol, which at the time banned trousers for women as evening wear, Bardot arrived dressed as a Napoleonic hussar. With gold braiding and more than a dozen rows of shiny buttons covering her chest, she had her long blond mane loose over her shoulders, and her eyes neatly circled with black kohl eyeliner. The chamberlain at the Elysée must have felt a cold sweat down his spine when he saw her walking up the steps in such attire. The star and the general met on the steps. She was the first to talk: “Bonjour, mon général,” she said, a little shy. De Gaulle, feigning to inspect the frogs on her dolman, replied: “Indeed! Madame.” Panache is the word, and they both showed plenty during their lives, albeit in very different fashion and circumstances.


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