The world has lost one of its brightest and most unconventional icons when British actress, singer-songwriter and French fashionista Jane Birkin died aged 76. Like Brigitte Bardot, Monica Vitti and Catherine Deneuve before her, Birkin embodies the fantasy of postwar women in a media culture of beautiful imagery and obsession with the new. Though her status in the US has long been (unfairly) overshadowed by luxury handbags, the Birkin is an object of mass obsession in her native Britain and a cultural treasure in France, her adopted home, where she has lived for decades. French President Emmanuel Macron described her as a “French icon” and “a versatile artist” who “sang the most beautiful words in our language… her voice was soft and her faith was fervent.” Embodies a decade of creativity and social upheaval in which decadence and desolation often went hand in hand. In terms of her films, music and style, Birkin became the face, voice and skin of the period.
As Birkin herself believed, she was most beautiful after And embrace her own unique, melodious singing voice. Birkin’s most ambitious albums, Ex fan des Sixties , Baby Alone in Babylone and Amour des Feintes appear in Gainsbourg’s later and ’76 songwriting contributions until his death in 1991. But Birkin recorded and toured intermittently over the next 40 years, releasing new interpretations of Gainsbourg’s songs in Arabesque and Birkin/Gainsbourg: le symphonique and releasing unforgettable new compositions in 1991 Crave Collection Oh! Pardon tu dormais… with French singer-songwriter Étienne Daho.
Inspired by her legend, Birkin’s long film career has remained largely unknown, especially in the United States, where many of her French, Italian and German films never received wide release. Starting with Swinging London memorabilia such as The Knack…And How to Get It, Blow-Up and Wonderwall and many more, Birkin has appeared in over films of almost every genre, including counterculture classics, sexual exploitation, sexual slapstick and art porn, gialli and gothic horror, period ensembles, new wave comedies, erotic melons
in honor of the Birkin life and work, Vogue compiled a short list of her most notable — or, in some cases, culturally enduring — performances. Each of these selections highlights Jane Birkin’s extraordinary beauty, mystery and joie de vivre.