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BB Forever at Sofitel Chicago
Photo by Sam Levin/Mediatheque de l'architecture et du patrimoine

Those lips, that hair, the smoky eyes and the built-for-bikinis bod: It's no wonder French actress/model/singer Brigitte Bardot became the most famous sex symbol of the 1960s.

“BB Forever,” a photo exhibit of more than 30 rare images, opens tomorrow at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower. Curated by Henry-Jean Servat, a French journalist who profiled Bardot in the March 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, the gorgeous shots tell the story of the bombshell’s rise to fame. She’s seen practicing ballet (her first career choice), sitting at a dressing-room table as a born brunette, gallivanting with her movie-director first husband and posing as Marianne, the female symbol of France.

What captivates us most about the photos is thinking about where this icon started and where she ended up: From teenage bride to sometimes-controversial animal-rights activist, Bardot, now 77 and living in Saint-Tropez, has led a fascinating life.

Stop by the exhibit for an inspirational peek during a day of spring shopping in the Gold Coast; if anyone ever showed us how to exude timeless, unfettered style, it was this blonde belle femme.

Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, 20 E. Chestnut St.; 312-324-4000 or sofitel-chicago.com

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