Singer Who Was Inspiration Behind Birkin Bags Passes Away At 76

Actress and singer Jane Birkin, who called France home and endeared the nation to her with her English grace, casual style, and social action, passed away at the age of 76.

On Sunday, July 16, Birkin’s carer discovered her dead. Her cause of death has not yet been determined, but according to ABC News, the actress had a history of health problems in recent years, including a stroke in 2021 and a broken shoulder blade earlier this year that prevented her from performing and being seen in public.

The actress, who was raised in London by Judy Campbell and David Birkin and moved to Paris when she was 20 to work on the film Slogan, found recognition and a permanent home in France.

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She met and fell in love with French actor and singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg on the 1968 movie’s set.

Later that year, the sexually explicit duet “Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus,” which translates to “I Love You… Me Neither,” which is the actress’s most well-known song, was co-written by Birkin and Gainsbourg, who gained national attention in France.

Despite having blatantly sexual lyrics that resulted in radio bans in numerous nations and condemnation from the Vatican, the song was a global hit and peaked at No. 1 on the UK singles chart.

Their relationship was frequently described as “tumultuous”, and Birkin reportedly wrote in her 2020 diaries that there had been violence. During one of their rows, Birkin launched herself into the River Seine after throwing a custard pie in Gainsbourg’s face.
But she frequently defended the man with whom she became so closely associated, including against charges by one singer that he was a “harasser”, in an interview in the Times in 2020.

Even with her British roots, the singer became a fashion icon in France in the 1960s and ‘70s, inspiring the creation of one of the most expensive and highly sought-after luxury bags in the world; the Birkin bag by French luxury design house Hermès.

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It was reportedly born after a conversation between Birkin and the Hermès chief executive, Jean-Louis Dumas, on a flight from Paris to London, on which they discussed how difficult it was to find a bag that could fulfil Birkin’s needs as a mother of two.


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