In the ever-evolving world of fashion, there are certain icons who leave an indelible mark on the industry, influencing trends and styles for generations to come. One such icon is the legendary Jane Birkin, who sadly passed away this week. Her timeless style and creativity have captivated fashion designers and luxury fashion fans worldwide for decades. Shush London wanted to pay tribute to Jane Birkin and her iconic style legacy. Join us as we celebrate her life, her influence on the fashion world, and read our guide on how you can find your very own preloved Birkin treasures to cherish and invest in for the future.
Jane Birkin, was a British-French actress and singer, who rose to fame in the 1960s and 1970s, with her natural beauty and free-spirited charm. Her bohemian sense of style, often characterised by simple yet chic ensembles, effortlessly captured laid-back sophistication.
She was born on December 14, 1946, in London and became an iconic figure in both the music and fashion industries. Growing up in a creative household, Jane displayed a natural flair for the arts and started acting at a young age. Her early career saw her make her mark in British films, including a memorable role in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blowup" (1966). However, it was her move to France in the late 1960s when she really became an icon.
In 1968, Jane Birkin's life took a significant turn when she met French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Their artistic collaboration would not only lead to a string of successful albums but also to a timeless, sultry duet, "Je t'aime... moi non plus." The song's provocative nature and Jane's breathy vocals sparked controversy but her status as a daring and influential figure in the music industry was sparked. Her effortless style and beauty caught the attention of fashion designers and photographers worldwide. Whilst Jane Birkin's influence on fashion is undeniable, her primary contributions were through her unique sense of style and her ability to inspire designers and trends rather than being a fashion designer herself.
It was during one chance encounter with the then CEO of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, on a flight from Paris to London that her most famous creation was born, the now-iconic and hugely collectable Birkin bag. Jane had a desire for a practical yet elegant handbag, the perfect blending of practically and style. The Birkin bag, which was originally designed only for her, has since become one of the most coveted and sought-after luxury items in the world. With its sleek design and exquisite craftsmanship.
Jane Birkin’s status as a fashion muse and icon endures to this day. Her preference for classic, well-tailored pieces, often paired with casual accents, has inspired countless designers and fashion enthusiasts alike. But whilst she is best remembered for the Birkin bag design, her sense of style was highly influential, her are some examples;
Jane Birkin Inspired Basket Bag - Jane was a champion of the wicker or basket bag trend. While she did not specifically design these bags herself, she popularised them in the 1970s. The basket bags she carried around town and on the beaches became an emblem of her carefree and bohemian style.
Flared Jeans - During the 1960s and 1970s, Jane Birkin was often spotted wearing flared jeans, contributing to their popularity as a fashion staple. Again she didn’t directly design them, but her influence played a large role in making flared jeans a fashion must-have.
Bohemian Mini Dresses - Jane frequently wore mini dresses with a laid-back, feminine flair. Her preference for airy fabrics, flowy silhouettes, and floral prints inspired designers and brands to create boho-chic mini dresses that captured her carefree spirit.
Ballerina Flats - Known for her love of comfort, Jane Birkin often opted for flat shoes. She was particularly fond of ballerina flats, which became a signature part of her style. She never designed them herself, but her fondness for this shoe style helped popularise it as a timeless and versatile footwear option for women.
The Classic Birkin Bag - The timeless Birkin bag in neutral colours like black, tan, or taupe are a staple in any luxury collection. However there are many colours the bag is designed in and limited edition Birkin bags often feature exotic skins or colours. You can see the current range at Shush here.
Jane Birkin's influence on the fashion world continues to endure, and her namesake bag remains an eternal symbol of style and luxury. As collectors and fashion enthusiasts, owning a preloved Birkin item not only allows us to connect with her timeless elegance but also contributes to a more sustainable and ethical approach to fashion.
With careful research and a discerning eye, you can find your very own preloved Birkin treasures that will not only elevate your style but also prove to be valuable investments in the future. Here are some tips from the Shush experts to help you find the perfect preloved Birkin items that compliment your style and values:
- Authenticity Is Key - When investing in a preloved Birkin bag or any item, authenticity is critical of course. It's vital you purchase from reputable sellers who provide a guarantee of authenticity and have a history of dealing with luxury items.
- Research and Rarity - We’d recommend you take the time to research the different styles, sizes, and materials of Birkin products. Particularly with the bags, there are limited editions or vintage pieces that are rarer and therefore more valuable.
- Condition Matters - Carefully inspect the condition of the preloved Birkin item before making a purchase, or only purchase from a reseller that can be trusted. While some wear is expected with vintage pieces, it's essential to determine the condition before you buy.
- Sustainability and Ethical Consumption - Many buyers of second hand Birkin items are keen to embrace the ethos of sustainability too. By buying second-hand, you contribute to reducing fashion's environmental impact, which fits well with Jane Birkin’s bohemian values.
Image by Deepskyobject