EST. 2009

December 20, 2017

Those Ballet Beginnings

BEFORE STARTING HER ACTING CAREER, BRIGITTE BARDOT WAS AN ASPIRING BALLERINA. She took lessons three days a week at a dance studio in Paris' 16th arrondissement, and by age 13 was accepted to the Conservatoire de Paris.

There, Brigitte attended classes taught by Boris Knyazev, a ballet dancer and choreographer who trained prima ballerina and 1964 Légion d’Honneur honouree Yvette Chauviré. Brigitte did not come to the same status in ballet, instead becoming an actress, singer, and model of international fame.

Over three decades, Brigitte appeared in 47 films, and released over a dozen albums and singles, before retiring from entertainment. She has since dedicated herself to animal activism, and was named a Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1984 for her efforts. Brigitte however refused this honor, claiming that the awarding government permitted the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.

And what of the young ballerina Brigitte? Though she did not pursue ballet, Brigitte contributed to bringing some of its essence to everyday fashion. She asked Rose Repetto, a dancer and founder of her namesake ballet shoe company, to create something as soft, comfortable, and flexible as a ballet shoe.

In 1956, Repetto released the Cendrillon: a ballet-inspired shoe of lasting appeal, widely replicated by brands and manufacturers the world over. To this day, the French brand celebrates the shoe's origin story, paying tribute to the world-renowned multi-hyphenate who once aspired to be a ballerina.

Brigitte Bardot photos by Walter Carone. Images from