Jane Birkin, the London-born actress and singer who made France her dwelling and charmed the nation along with her English grace, pure model and social activism, died July 16 in Paris. She was 76.
Ms. Birkin was identified for her musical and romantic relationship with French singer Serge Gainsbourg, with whom she recorded the steamy 1969 duet “Je t’aime … moi non plus” (“I like you … me neither”). Ms. Birkin’s ethereal, British-accented singing voice interlaced with Gainsbourg’s gruff baritone, and the tune helped launch her to worldwide prominence, topping the pop charts in Britain and peaking at No. 58 in america. The tune was forbidden in Italy after being denounced within the Vatican newspaper due to its erotic lyrics.
The model Ms. Birkin displayed within the Nineteen Sixties and early Nineteen Seventies — lengthy hair with bangs, denims paired with white tops, knit mini attire and basket baggage — nonetheless epitomizes the peak of French stylish for a lot of girls around the globe.
Ms. Birkin was additionally synonymous with a Hermès bag that bore her title. Created by the Paris trend home in 1984 in her honor, the Birkin bag grew to become one of many world’s most unique luxurious objects, with a stratospheric price ticket and years-long ready checklist to purchase it.
In her adopted France, Ms. Birkin was additionally celebrated for her political activism and campaigning for Amnesty Worldwide, Myanmar’s pro-democracy motion, the combat towards AIDS and different causes. “You may all the time do one thing,” she stated in 2001, drumming up assist for an Amnesty marketing campaign towards torture. “You may say, ‘I’m not OK with that.’”
Ms. Birkin joined 5 monks on a march by the Cannes Movie Competition in 2008 to demand that Myanmar let international assist employees into the nation to assist cyclone victims. Final 12 months, she joined different display screen and music stars in France in chopping off locks of their hair in assist of protesters in Iran. Actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, Ms. Birkin’s daughter with Serge Gainsbourg, minimize off a snippet of her mom’s hair for the #HairForFreedom marketing campaign as Iran was engulfed by anti-government protests.
Jane Mallory Birkin was born in London on Dec. 14, 1946. Her father, David Birkin, was an officer within the Royal Navy; her mom, Judy Campbell, was an English display screen and stage actress.
Ms. Birkin’s early film credit included Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow-Up” (1966), which was credited with serving to introduce French audiences to her Swinging Sixties model and sweetness. She and Gainsbourg met two years later, and he or she remained his muse lengthy after the couple separated in 1980.
Ms. Birkin had a daughter, Kate, with James Bond composer John Barry. Kate Barry died in 2013 at age 46. Ms. Birkin had her third daughter, singer and mannequin Lou Doillon, with French filmmaker Jacques Doillon.
Full data on survivors was not instantly out there.
Ms. Birkin suffered from well being points lately that stored her from performing and her public appearances grew to become sparse. French broadcaster BFMTV stated she suffered a light stroke in 2021, forcing her to cancel exhibits that 12 months. She canceled her exhibits once more in March because of a damaged shoulder blade.
A return to performing was delay in Could, with the singer saying she wanted a bit extra time and promising her followers she would see them once more come the autumn.
Appreciation: Jane Birkin made the easy issues really feel luxurious
Regardless of her decades-long display screen and music profession, Ms. Birkin suspected that, for some folks, the bag named after her may be her most well-known legacy.
The style accent was born of a fortuitous encounter on a London-bound flight within the Nineteen Eighties with the then-head of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas. Ms. Birkin recalled that they acquired to speaking after she spilled a few of her issues on the cabin ground. She requested Dumas why Hermès didn’t make an even bigger purse and sketched out on an airplane vomit sack the kind of bag that she’d like.
Dumas then had an instance made for her and, flattered, she stated sure when Hermès requested whether or not it may commercialize the bag in her title.
In a CBS Sunday Morning interview in 2018, Ms. Birkin joked that it may be what she’s finest identified for. “I believed, ‘Oh gosh, on my obituary, it’ll say, ‘Just like the bag’ or one thing,’” she stated. “Properly, it may very well be worse.”