Fashion Icon Friday: Jane Birkin
The English singer and actress came onto the Swinging London scene in the 1960s. She appeared in films like the 1968 Wonderwall and Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. She was even in Don Juan, or if Don Juan were a Woman with our other fashion icon, Brigitte Bardot. Both were stylish sex symbols of that era.
As a singer, her infamous song is “Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus” (“I Love You… Nor Do I”), a duet with Serge Gainsbourg, the French singer, songwriter, actor, director, and composer. Jane and Serge collaborated numerous times, and also had a 13-year long romantic relationship together after her marriage to composer John Barry ended.
So how did the lusted-over Birkin bag come to be named after Jane Birkin herself? Rumor has it the Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas was seated next to Jane on a Paris-to-London flight in 1984. She was traveling with a straw purse and when she put it in the overhead compartment, everything fell out. She explained to him that she couldn’t find a leather weekend bag that she liked—clearly it was fate! Shortly after, he created the now classic and exclusive leather Birkin bag for her.
Jane still does some acting and singing as well as working closely with Amnesty International and efforts to bring AIDS awareness—and yes, still carries a Birkin bag.