60's Style Icon: Jane Birkin
Updated: Mar 19, 2020
If your song didn't get condemned by the Pope or you weren't the muse behind one of the most expensive handbags in the world, you just didn't do it right.
Jane Birkin is an English-born Parisian after moving to France in her 20's and is one of the biggest 60's style icons. Although her adult life was far from ordinary, her upbringing was; as she grew up in a "very conventional family" in England and was just "a shy English girl." After her marriage ended, in 1968 she moved back into her family home in London and began auditioning for roles in England and LA. By the late 60's she moved to France where she met Serge Gainsbourg, a rebellious French artist, with whom she released the controversial song that was banned by all English radio stations.
Jane's style is timeless. Although many would identify 60's starlets with flower-patterned mini dresses that would get a few questioning looks if worn today, Jane heavily relied on the classics and avoided trends. While many were wearing psychedelic clothes, teasing their hair up to the heavens and lining their eyes so much they were starting to resemble dolls, Jane done the exact opposite. She often relied on a white t-shirt and jeans, always had her hair down and wore minimal makeup. From the beginning she was being her authentic and simplistic self which is why she is still a muse to many designers today and someone that I look up to style wise. Anyone that knows me, knows that my obsession with 60's fashion has almost no limits but my only problem was that some of the looks were simply unwearable today which is why Jane's simple approach to that era of fashion was such a breath of fresh air for me.
To me, Jane's simple 60's style is charmingly appealing and very easily re-worn no matter the decade.
White on white
While spending hours on Pinterest (probably a few too many), it's easy to notice that Jane often liked to wear all white outfits. Although it is very risky to wear white for a number of reasons, it seemed to be a staple in Jane's wardrobe and a colour she liked to wear often. The colour coupled with her fringe and boyish body, gave her an innocent and charming aura.
They never go out of style, do they? In the 60's jeans got a big makeover; they became more fitted, flared and casual. They started to cater more to the hippie culture at the time. Jeans never disappear, and paired with a white top look absolutely timeless and effortless. Although many would associate this look with the 90's due to their simplistic approach to fashion, Jane was already sporting this in the 60's showing she didn't need to be given much to make it work.
There is nothing else that defines the 60's more than the mini dress. Fashion became more youthful and experimental due to the rise of the hippie culture; dresses were now short, quite loose and usually patterned. They were revolutionary, the youth made a statement that they no longer wanted to dress like their parents and the mini was considered a rebellious garment, showing the shift in societal dynamics. Jane often sported mini dresses, simple or embellished, she gave them the cool they might have been missing.
Before she thought up and lent her name to one of the most luxurious handbags in the world (cheapest versions costing around £10,000) ,Jane was not conventional in what she used to carry her things. Instead of having a wardrobe full of designer handbags, she usually opted for a basket. A literal straw basket. It was her staple throughout the 60's and 70's as she simply could not find a handbag big enough for all her stuff. It was a solution hidden in plain sight.
Her approach to fashion was extremely simple as she said herself: "It's impossible to be stylish without confidence, you see."