Brigite at 60
A journey with the creator of Brigitewear as she reminisces and celebrates turning 60
by John Cappelli - Independent
Columnist - October 2015
t seems like it was just yesterday that I did my first interview with Brigite. It was in fact though March 2001 and Brigite had just launched her new Brigitewear brand into the US. Little did I know at the time how taken I would be the the vivacious young woman I would grow to know and admire.
I've long since retired, and was quite surprised this past August when I received a call at home from a staff member at Brigitewear asking if I would like to come along with Brigite and some of the company crew and document a travelogue with Brigite as she turns 60. I jumped at the chance.
I found myself on an Alaska Airline's 737 toward the end of August jetting my way to Portland, Oregon. After picking up my luggage, I was met by a Brigitewear staff member and we drove to a remote lake in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range.
I stashed my gear in a little cabin, changed my clothes into something more appropriate for the area and temperature, and was driven down to a little cove in a pristine lake. There was a small series of docks. We walked to the middle and there I saw my friend. It was hard to believe it had been 10 years since we did our final interview. Back then Brigite had just turned 50, gotten married and retired from active modeling to concentrate on design and production.
Brigite was out a the end of the dock by a little sail boat
I saw her out at the end of the dock by a little sail boat. I yelled at her. She turned and a big smile lit up her face. She turned and ran up to me. We embraced and at once I was taken back in time to a decade ago. I had so many questions, both professional and personal and I was honored to have been invited along on the journey. We reminisced a while and it was just fabulous, there could not have been a more idyllic location.
She turned and a big smile lit her face
Cappelli: So, Brigite, it's so hard to believe it's been 10 years since we last spoke. I was so honored to be called to document this milestone birthday in your life. Why did you decide to do this?
Brigite: Oh, there are many reasons John. You know you go through life and you realize you're getting older but then there are these thresholds that arrive, usually I suspect for most people they're at decade intervals. You know especially I think, 30, 40 and then 60. It's like milestones. You turn 30 and it seems like your youth is behind you. You turn 40 and you realize you're now middle aged, many people go through a midlife crises about then. Then it's 60 and you realize you are in the waning years, the autumn of your life so to speak and you begin to think differently. When I turned 50, I decided to stop modeling our products, turn that part of the business over to younger experienced models. I felt I was just too old.
It's odd that I felt that way because my company's philosophy is that you're never too old, do what you want not what you believe others think you should do. And what did I do? I succumbed to what I'd told others not to succumb to. Customers and fans kept asking me to model again and I just ignored them. I recently reevaluated my own thinking and felt somewhat ashamed for talking one way and acting another. I decided on the eve of my 60th birthday that I would take any of my fans or customers who wanted to go on a little journey with me. We'd go half way around the world and for one last time I would model again. For them and for me. Does that make sense?
Cappelli: Sure, it makes sense, although I must admit I am surprised by it. I thought you had a, I'm not sure how to phrase it, but a firmer handle on who you are or were.
Brigite: I did too. Things just have a way of sneaking up on you and changing a person I guess. Anyway, here's what I want to do. I've got a few new pieces from our 2016 swimwear and cover-up collection that I've selected and have agreed to model. Just a few. I wanted to take some shots up here in this beautiful part of America and then hope you will accompany me back to France. I'd like to show you around a little bit and then perhaps model a few more pieces over there. The entire thing could take 3-4 weeks. Are you interested?
Cappelli: You bet. I'm retired and have nothing but time on my hands and nobody I'd rather spend the time with. Let's do it.
Brigite: Fabulous! Let's start in the morning, the weather is supposed to be beautiful.
The next day dawned as beautiful as before. I wandered outside after coffee and found my ride to the lake waiting. Brigite had gone down early to watch the sunrise. So, I grabbed my gear and jumped into the little vehicle and off we went. As I walked out onto the dock I saw Brigite reclining on the back of the boat they'd rented for the week.
There was Brigite relaxing on the back of the boat
Cappelli: Good morning, you certainly look relaxed. Is that one of your new 2016 pieces you're wearing?
Brigite: Hi John, beautiful day isn't it? And yes, this is one of my new tops. We haven't named it yet but I'm sure it will be a hit. It's very sheer and light and works great as a bikini cover-up or just as a shirt. Do you like it?
We haven't named it yet, but I'm sure it will be a hit
Cappelli: I do like it, very feminine, I'm sure you're right, it will be a hit. And you look absolutely stunning in it. I think this short return to modeling is a great idea for you.
(Continue to the end of the story for a sneak peak of Brigitewear's 2016 swimwear line or to go directly there click Here)