She’s considered an icon of the 60s and 70s, inspiring hairstyles and handbags alike, and now aged 69, Jane Birkin has landed a new campaign for Saint Laurent’s classic Le Smoking tuxedo.
The beauty that the actress and model was famed for in her heyday still shines brightly through the black and white images from the new campaign, which was photographed by Hedi Slimane in the Yves Saint Laurent Couture house in Paris.
Londoner Birkin first shot to fame in a sexy scene in the 1966 film Blow Up and in 1969 she released the unforgettable song Je T’aime…Moi Non Plue with actor lover Serge Gainsbourg.
Gainsbourg had originally penned the song for Brigitte Bardot and it was considered too sexually explicit in countries including Italy, Spain and the UK, where some radio stations banned it.
Birkin went on to appear in the Agatha Christie films Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun and recorded a number of albums in the 1980s.
In 1981, she was sat next to Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas on a flight from Paris to London. Dumas was so taken with Birkin that she was the muse and inspiration behind the iconic Hermès Birkin handbag, which can now be sold for upwards of £100,000.
In 2015, Birkin wrote a public letter to Hermès requesting her name be removed from the bag, stating she wanted the company to “debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place,” referring to the cruel methods used to acquire the skins for the bags.
Hermès announced soon afterwards that it had satisfied Birkin with new reassurances on this and she allowed the brand to continue using her name.
In 2001, Birkin was awarded an OBE for her philanthropic endeavours. She has long been an outspoken proponent of democracy in Myanmar, a country which has just sworn in its first civilian President in 50 years.
Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1