Jane Birkin, the unrivalled icon who inspired the world’s most desired handbag.


Jane left at the lowest point ever reached by contemporary beauty standards. She, an ethereal beauty, a symbol of simplicity and delicacy, an icon of style without frills or embellishments, belongs to the era of the sexual revolution, of discreet and authentic sensuality.

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.

Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg in 70s

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.

And she would probably continue to use only that until, in 1983, on an Air France flight to London, she accidentally ended up sitting next to Jean-Louis Dumas, CEO in charge of Hermès. A lively exchange of opinions and ideas immediately began between them. While talking, the diary fell out of Jane’s basket bag, scattering papers everywhere, the singer-actress ironically said that ‘no diary and no bag can hold my things’, adding that Hermès, unfortunately, did not put pockets on straw bags.

Dumas then took her bag and returned it to her a few weeks later, with the addition of a pocket on the front, a design that has since become iconic for the brand. Jane continued, also telling Dumas about her difficulty in finding a weekend bag that was large, feminine and above all comfortable. At that point, Dumas promised the actress to make one just for her, what would become the future most desired handbag in the world, the Birkin Bag.


The following year, in 1984, Hermès put the still iconic Birkin Bag on the market: with the highest price ever fetched at auction – in 2019 in Hong Kong at a Christie’s auction, for over 200,000 euros – as well as the most imitated, desired and worn by everyone: actors, pop stars, fashion insiders.

Instead, a year ago, in 2022, Jean Touitou, founder of the A.P.C. brand, asked her to design a collection with the aim of ‘perfecting his everyday outfits’: the two spokesmen of sought-after simplicity thus embarked on a long study aimed at perfection. For more than 30 years, the French brand has been designing clothes that focus on the essential; while Jane, for her part, has always had clear ideas about the essentiality of her style: cotton or linen tees with a low neckline, a generous cashmere jumper, like a man’s coat in which to take refuge.

The result of this dialogue was a capsule of nine pieces: beige cargo trousers, cotton tank top, canvas trainers, released September 2022 and quickly sold out. This shows how Jane Birkin, at the age of 75, remained the fashion icon, the benchmark of world style, until the end of her days.



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