The world mourns the loss of the well-loved singer, actress, and fashion maven, who passed away at 76.
Today, the name “Birkin” is easily recognizable as the it-bag from the French luxury house, Hermès. But unbeknownst to many, the beloved bag is named after an equally loved icon—Jane Birkin. A household name in French media, Brikin’s legacy is remembered by those who watched her movies, listened to her songs, and copied her style.
According to the local news, the English-French icon passed away in her Parisian home. The circumstances regarding her death are not disclosed, but it is known that Birkin suffered a mild stroke in 2021.
Aside from the famous bag named after her, Birkin is famously known for her daring songs with provocative lyrics and films considered scandalous for her time. The actress was born in London but found her success in France. She moved to another country in 1968 to pursue a career. Birkin made a bold move to move to a foreign country without speaking the language—but because of her perseverance, she became France’s favorite English.
Birkin’s career skyrocketed due to her song, Je T’aime…moi non plus, which she created with her artistic and personal partner, Serge Gainsbourg. The song was under fire and banned in many countries—even condemned by the Vatican due to its sexually provocative lyrics. The music and Birkin were at the forefront of sexual positivity in the media during her time.
Aside from her famous song, Birkin also starred in a much more controversial film that spearheaded a movement in cinema. Before she found fame in France, Birkin starred in a 1966 movie by Michelangelo Antonioni—entitled “Blow Up,” where she filmed a naked scene depicting a threesome sex scene.
Birkin is also known in France for being at the forefront of women’s and LGBTQ+ rights plight.
“Because she embodied freedom because she sang the most beautiful words of our language, Jane Birkin was a French icon. A complete artist, her voice was as sweet as her engagements were fiery. She bequeaths us tunes and images that will never leave us,” the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, tweeted.
Birkin will forever be remembered as a dynamic and fierce woman who never stopped to achiever her dreams. She always remained steadfast and unassuming—never getting fame get in the way of her advocacies and mission. With that, Jane Birkin will forever be remembered.
Banner photo via Instagram @janebirkinoff.