Jane Birkin - actor, singer, songwriter, model, it girl, muse, icon ...the list goes on.
It's no secret that we both hold a special place in our hearts for her and were saddened to learn of her death yesterday.
British born, emerging during the Swinging Sixties in London with her first credited role in 1966s' 'Blow Up' she went on to became the darling of French cinema & music, where she chose to reside for the rest of her life.
It is her eternal effortlessness and joie de vivre which intrigued us, quiet yet often brutally honest and never shying away from controversy. Famously linked, creatively and romantically with Serge Gainsbourg, they were the counter-culture 'couple du jour'. Their worldwide hit, 'Je t’aime moi non plus', sound tracked with Jane's ecstatic moans, was an aural indication of her sexy, distinctive style.
Jane captured the freedom of this era beautifully, often photographed without shoes, wearing white tees and blue jeans or hotpants and men’s suit jackets. Never without her signature overflowing wicker basket, it accompanied her to the supermarket, the Côte D’Azur and the red carpet. This made her unconventional wardrobe all the more thrilling, with midriff plunges and floor-length sequins, a crushed pink velvet gown and body chain belt, ushering in the unabashed glamour of the late 60s and early 70s.
She will, of course, forever be immortalized with The Birkin Bag, one of the most sought after luxury bags in history. Created by chance. Birkin was sitting next to Hermés chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas on a flight. Her straw bag emptied onto the floor, she voiced her frustrations to Dumas at never finding a good leather bag to do the job. They went on to devise a collaboration and took her name, launching The Birkin Bag in 1984.
In the 80s, she cut her hair off, and leaned into her boyish side, peeling away the notions of her sex appeal. “I found myself the most interesting at 40,” she said. “I started wearing Scotting cotton marcels, Agnès b. men’s shirts, oversized pants accessorized with a thin red leather belt and sneakers without laces.”
‘Basic style’, today, is a swear word. But to have Birkin’s style of ‘Basic’ is liberation and possibility...
To the most Parisian of the English, Au revoir Jane x