The Rake

THE SUMMER OF ’68

Source: A louche-looking Gigi Rizzi with Brigitte Bardot, circa 1968.

In its valedictory round-up of 1968’s most notable people, the magazine Newsweek singled out the year’s headliners: Che Guevara, Christiaan Barnard and Gigi Rizzi. Gigi who? It was a name to conjure with — indeed, it sounded like an unbeatable submission in the porn-star name game — but Rizzi had done something more momentous and epoch-making than, say, foment Marxist revolution across Latin America or perform the first human-to-human heart transplant. That summer he had become the most envied man on the planet as the playboy consort of the ultimate French bombshell, Brigitte Bardot.

Photos of the time show Bardot and Rizzi cutting a swathe through various palmfringed rivieras — Saint- Tropez, of course, where Bardot held court in her villa, La Madrague, but also Capri, where she had shot with Jean-Luc Godard. She tends to be wearing floppy sun hats and cotton vests or micro-dresses; he’s in shirts that are slashed to the navel and low-slung cords or velvet trousers, accessorised with the crispiest of tans,

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