1960’s Fashion icon, actress and singer Jane Birkin was born on this day in 1946

She first emerged as a model and actress from the Swinging London scene and ended up in Paris as a singer with Serge Gainsbourg

1960’s Fashion icon, actress and singer Jane Birkin was born on this day in 1946

With a contrast of a boyish body together with female style and beauty, Jane Birkin became famous during the late 1960’s when she worked as a model and later as an actress and singer. Jane Mallory Birkin was born in London, England on December 14th, 1946. Birkin emerged in the Swinging London scene of the 1960’s, appearing in the counterculture era films “Blowup” and “Kaldeidoscope” both from 1966 and as a fantasy-like model in the psychedelic film “Wonderwall” from 1968. That same year, she auditioned in France for the lead female role in the film “Slogan” and she got the role, though she did not speak French, it was during that period in 1969 that she met controversial French poet and singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, 18 years older than her and with whom she began an intense relationship and also a musical and artistic collaboration with him writing most of her material during that period. In 1969, she and Gainsbourg released the controversial duet “Je t’aime… moi non plus” that he had originally wrote for former lover Brigitte Bardot, they recorded in 1967 but it was shelved due to the song content and at request of Bardot’s husband. With Birkin, the song caused a scandal for its sexual explicitness, and was banned by radio stations in Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, however, despite that, it was a hit on all the mentioned countries and across Europe in general, it became the first ever French song reaching No.1 in the U.K, though censored. “Je t’aime… moi non plus” remains one of the most iconic and explicit songs of the 1960’s. In the same year the couple release an album together, Jane’s first, “Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg” that aside of their hit song also included “Jane.B” and “69 Année Érotique”. In 1971, the couple had a daughter, the actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg. In 1973 she released her first solo album “Di doo dah” with most songs written by Gainsbourg. She took a break from acting in 1971–72, but returned as Brigitte Bardot’s lover in the 1973 movie “Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman”. She kept appearing on mostly European movies throughout the decade, and after 13 years living together she separated from Gainsbourg amicably. Jane mostly worked as an actress until 2017 when she announced she would be retiring from acting, but returning to music as she recently released “Birkin/Gainsbourg: Le Symphonique”, a collection of songs Gainsbourg had written for her during and after their relationship, reworked with full orchestral arrangements. Birkin aquired French nationality, while also keeping the British, however she has been living in France since 1969.Jane Birkin remains an icon for fashion, beauty and style and the most French of all British singers and actresses, today she turns 71.

Look back at Jane Birkin performing “Jane B.” in 1969

Watch the 1969 promo for the controversial “Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus” by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg

 

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