Many of you may have heard of Jane Birkin; she’s a cultural icon for sure. With a new book on the shelves all about her family life with famed french singer Serge Gainsbourg, I thought I’d chat about her just a bit.
The book is Jane & Serge. A Family Album and it’s compiled of photos taken of the family by Jane’s brother, Andrew Birkin. The British-born model / actress / singer caught the eye of noted ladies’ man Serge Gainsbourg on the set of the film Slogan in 1968. The pair instantly became France’s golden couple. They made records, films, and a quite enviable life together in Paris. Jane’s easy-going tomboy style has served as an inspiration to countless designers, stylists, and women in general for decades. Photos of her bangs probably appear in thousands of hair salons everyday, and that mouse-y voice she whispers with on her records is just adorably irresistible.
Although Jane and Serge’s relationship lasted only 13 years, Jane’s iconic style lives on. She even inspired the chief executive of Hermès to create the Birkin bag, arguably the most famous handbag in fashion history. Two of her daughters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, are artists and muses in their own right as well. That’s one talented and stylish family!
Several fashion houses have their iconic styles, images immediately conjured upon mentioning their name. Coco Chanel has her little black dresses and quilted handbags, Christian Dior has his nipped-waist hourglass frocks, and Jean-Paul Gaultier has the (in)famous cone bra. When it comes to the 1960′s mod movement and “swinging London”, there is just one designer who defines and embodies the colorful, liberated look of that amazing time. Mary Quant and her Vidal Sassoon fairy haircut completely overhauled the look of young women everywhere. Most importantly, she had an integral part in popularizing a staple piece of clothing that has never gone out of style since its 60′s inception: the miniskirt!
Mary Quant’s use of bright colors and bold patterns put her right in the middle of the mod scene in London, with her shop, Bazaar, helping to make King’s Road a fashion hot-spot. She got the attention of all the most popular it-girls and models, including Twiggy and Patty Boyd, who were often featured in her ads and seen just hanging out in Mary’s punchy designs. Her miniskirt, named after her favorite car, was intended to be a liberating piece of clothing; something a woman could run for the bus in. Mary paired the skirt with colorful graphic tights, sharp haircuts, and mod makeup to create an irresistible look.
Mary wasn’t just a behind-the-scenes type of designer. She could always be spotted wearing her own fashions; she seemingly was designing for herself and girls like her. Even though she’s no longer designing, she’s still sporting great style and that signature crop at 78 years old. Her cosmetics line is still wildly popular in Japan, and you can always recognize anything Mary had her hand in by her signature daisy logo. Plus, all girls everywhere should be thanking Mary Quant for a modern miracle- she invented water-proof mascara! So next time you’re crying over your boyfriend while wearing your favorite miniskirt, remember who to thank. Mary!