Gina Vaynshteyn
June 18, 2015 6:38 am

Brigitte Bardot nailed the fringe game before there was even a fringe game, and knew how to work a bouffant like it was no big deal. Everything about Bardot seemed effortless and natural — everything from the way she neatly applied pitch black eyeliner to the flawless outfits she wore (the very French striped tops! The sexy trench coats! Those thick, statement headbands!), but she was more than an iconic fashionista. She was also an actress (she starred in over 40 movies before she retired from the film industry in 1973), a singer, a model, and an animal rights activist.

She was also considered the “locomotive of women’s history,” and in a 1959 essay titled “The Lolita Syndrome,” (I know), was described as the “most liberated woman of postwar France.” That she unapologetically (and, at the time, subversively) embraced her sexuality and her body, made her one of the most well-known public figures at the time — but it came with a cost.

Bardot retired at age 39, depressed and uncomfortable with the fame she accrued over the years. She once stated, “I have been very happy, very rich, very beautiful, much adulated, very famous and very unhappy.” So she poured all of her energy into animals, establishing the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals in 1986 and donating funds en masse to support adoption programs and spaying/neutering.

Well, it’s been over 40 years since Bardot’s “heyday,” and I can’t stop staring at old photos on Google images. They’re so beautiful, with such poise and an indescribable ethereal quality — every picture makes it seem like Bardot is in on a secret you’re not, that she’s lost in some kind of daydream. More photos were recently discovered — rare, never-before-seen photos taken by photojournalist Ray Bellisario, who Huffington Post describes as the “original London paparazzo.” According to HuffPo, Bellisario asked the French actress to spend the night with him, and to his surprise, she did. “She said, ‘Oh, this is fun, I’ve been kidnapped!'”

While the connection Bardot seems to have with the brazen photographer in the photos (all those meaningful glances!), exists, the two never saw each other after that night. Bellisario claims the actress “kissed him goodbye the following morning,” and that was the last he saw of her.

Now, the photographs live at the Dadiani Fine Art Museum in London — the collection is called “Brigitte Bardot: 13 Unseen Photographs, London 1968” and they’re on display until the 30th of this month. Take a peek at a few of them:

(Images via HuffPo)

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