Remembering ‘the Englishwoman most loved by the French’. The diva symbol of simplicity and bohemian elegance; a milestone in fashion history for inspiring the Birkin Bag by Hermès.
Jane passed away at the lowest point ever reached by contemporary beauty standards, leaving us orphaned of a strong and unmatched symbol of refinement and good taste, as only she knew how to be.
An ethereal beauty, a symbol of simplicity and delicacy, an icon of style without frills or embellishments, Jane Birkin belongs to the era of the sexual revolution, of discreet and authentic sensuality.
It leaves a legacy of unmistakable style, timeless charm and a bag that will remain an icon of luxury, forever.
She achieved notoriety in 1966 with Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow-Up, in which she showed herself topless for the first time; two years later she moved to Paris, where she met the great love of her life, Serge Gainsbourg, with whom she began a whirlwind affair of overwhelming passion and artistic partnership.
Their relationship will be one of the most talked-about and paparazzied of its time, not least because of their significant age difference: 21 years old she, 40 he. Their love story was to give birth to a daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and a song that was to become the symbol of the new sexual revolution: “Je t’aime… moi non plus” in 1969. In Paris, she became an icon of the Nouvelle Vague, a movement, first cinematographic and then cultural, that gave life to a generation of young French thinkers, nonchalant and restless, who manifested their ideals of change in art and style.
She manifested her charm as a talented actress, a seductive singer, but above all as a style icon, imposing a new fronted and essential femininity. A pair of used denim, a leather belt, an unbuttoned man’s shirt or a tank top in summer; never bright prints, no flashy jewellery, evanescent make-up, sometimes absent. Looking at it, Jane Birkin’s style is simple, marked by normality, and yet, she could have been the only one to wear it.
And that’s the difference between a fashion victim and a style icon: she can wear anything, but she will always do it ‘in her own way’, or rather as the French say ‘ne sais quoi’, with that ‘I don’t know what’ that makes a person unique.
For years, Jane Birkin has simply carried a basket of straw around: from society receptions to the market, to catch a flight, through the streets of Paris, to the sea. Always.