Jane Birkin – Singer, Actress and Fashion Inspiration dead at 76

todayJuly 17, 2023 169

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She embodied beauty in the 1960’s European erotic art cinema world, was the lover and collaborator with Serge Gainsbourg and even has the most famous designer bag named after her.  She owned her quiet confidence and inspired and emboldened sexuality in women everywhere.

At 20, Ms. Birkin appeared in Michelangelo Antonioni’s hit 1966 movie, “Blow Up”  where she played a fashion model — the credits listed her as only The Blonde — and gained for a risqué nude scene.  The film that led her to stay in France was “La Piscine” (“The Swimming Pool”), starring Alain Delon and Romy Schneider which proved to be yet another showcase for Ms. Birkin’s long-limbed beauty.

Birkin’s storied relationship with Serge Gainsbourg captivated the French and European public, and cemented her as the modern fairytale princess.  Not just serving as his muse or lover, Birkin proved to be his equal and collaborator further empowering women across the globe.  Their most infamous collaboration was their recording of  “Je t’aime… moi non plus” (“I Love You… Me Neither”).  In this duet, Serge talking of sex in a quiet seductive voice slowly builds during the breakdown as  Birkin confesses her love over and over as she moans as if in the throws of love making.  “Je t’aime… moi non plus” was condemned by the Vatican and banned in several countries and by the B.B.C. television network. But it sold millions of copies.  (including mine!)

Once while flying in the early 80’s she was carrying a bunch of items in a plastic bag,when the handle broke and out of frustration exclaims that Hermès did not make a bag that could fit all her things. As fate would have it the man sitting next to her happened to be Jean-Louis Dumas, who was at that time the head designer of Hermès and would later become CEO.  Hermes released the Birkin bag line the same year — in just the large size she had requested.

She is survived by two daughters, one with Mr. Gainsbourg and the other with Mr. Doillon: the singer-actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, each of whom has, like their mother, inspired designers and followers of fashion.

Written by: jamric

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