It was a funeral that paid tribute to her role as bohemian fashion muse, style icon and carefree rebel.
As Jane Birkin was remembered yesterday at the Saint-Roch church in Paris, a group of actresses, singers and fashionistas came together to celebrate the life of the woman who inspired the world’s most iconic bag: the Hermes Birkin.
Unlike at British funerals, there was no veiled headdress or pearl necklace in sight. Instead, France’s fashion elite nonchalantly mixed French designer labels with dark sunglasses, kohl eyeliner, and exquisitely expensive, minimalist accessories. All in the Parisian’s favorite colour, black.
It was Jane’s daughters, actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, 51, and singer Lou Doillon, 40, who set the tone, honoring their mother who, though born in London, became, with her toothless smile, loose bangs and tousled hair, the epitome of French chic.
In a moving move, both wore ‘Le Smoking’ tuxedo jackets, the enduring design for which couturier Yves Saint Laurent was named in 1966, the year Jane adopted France as her homeland.
Charlotte Rampling (left) in a casual cream cardigan and First Lady Brigitte Macron (right) with her £3,000 purse.
Catherine Deneuve (left) paired £690 Vivier heels and a Prada bag, while Vanessa Paradis (right) wore jeans and a straw hat.
It was Jane’s daughters, actress Charlotte Gainsbourg (right), 51, and singer Lou Doillon (left), 40, who set the tone.
Gainsbourg (whose father was the actor and singer Serge Gainsbourg with whom Birkin recorded J t’aime) wore a £2,365 Saint Laurent satin lapel tuxedo jacket and £1,105 Saint Laurent trousers, while Doillon is believed to have paired a £2,170 single-breasted jacket with YSL trousers.
It was a fitting tribute: By the 1960s, both Jane and Yves were already fashion legends. More than half a century later, Birkin posed for YSL in a series of black and white images, pairing ‘Le Smoking’ with a simple white T-shirt.
However, it wasn’t just the family that gave Jane a fashionable sendoff worthy of the front row of the runway.
France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron paired a £735 black jacket and matching £320 trousers by French designer Barbara Bui with a £3,050 Louis Vuitton bag.
Catherine Deneuve, who inspired Roger Vivier’s iconic Belle De Jour pumps, named after the film of the same name, opted for £690 Vivier heels and a Prada bag, while actress and Bond girl Carole Bouquet, now an ambassador for the house of Chanel, wore vintage loafers with gold Chanel heels.
Other guests, however, seemed to have channeled Jane’s bohemian touch. Singer Vanessa Paradis wore jeans and a straw hat, while actress Emmanuelle Beart appeared in £14.99 Zara pants.
One actress, French-Algerian star Maiwenn, even stood on the church steps in her vintage Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche coat, an unlit cigarette dangling from her mouth, rummaging through her Bottega Veneta bag for a lighter. Jane would doubtless have approved.