Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin — surely you’ve heard these household names! While Bardot is a born and bred Parisian and Birkin an anglo transplant from London, the two alike have embodied that certain je ne sais quoi it takes to achieve French icon status. On screen and in real life they personified the French free spirit of the sixties and seventies. They owned their sexuality, honed a carefree bohemian style, and embraced their natural assets as well as their flaws when it came to beauty.
Discovered at the age of just sixteen, the soon to be blonde Bardot made a name for herself as a model in Paris before achieving international super stardom with her breakout role in And God Created Woman. Birkin was a budding star in London, but when she when came to Paris to audition for the 1969 film Slogan, it would be the beginning of the affair that would define her and her new life in France. Individually the two became the most adored and provocative stars of the time in France, and still in the hearts and eyes of the young and old fans alike here today.
In real life and on screen their lives often intertwined. They appeared in the steamy film Don Juan together in 1973, and both were lovers and muses of French singer and ladies man, Serge Gainsbourg. His hugely successful song Je t’aime was originally written for Bardot during their brief affair. But when it was released two years later, the female part was sung by Jane Birkin, who had since started up a relationship with Gainsbourg. Because of this, the two have often been considered rivals, but both stars denied the competition over the years, eventually becoming great friends.
Black and white photographs of the two together enjoying summers in Saint Tropez remind us why they’re still great icons of French fashion and beauty. Their look is timeless. And since you’re never too old to play dress up, my best friend Audrey invited me over to try our hand at recreating our favourite looks from these two icons of France.
Lancôme’s new Le Duo Stick was perfect for contouring and highlighting areas of the face to mimic the shape of the stars, like their gravity defying cheek bones. On Audrey we recreated Birkin’s doe eyes, and on me, Bardot’s heavy charcoal look she loved in the 70s. It was great fun to see our transformation. If only for an afternoon, we felt like the stars whose beauty and fashion has been inspiring us for years!