It looks as if England has lost Jane Birkin forever … she is firmly entrenched in Paris with baby Kate, nanny and the lovely Serge Gainsbourg, living in sombre luxury in their newly acquired house. The interior is stark and dramatic, every room is decorated in black and white, with white doors and black marble floors or carpet. The furniture is also black and white—there’s a big black shiny piano in the lounge, and a black mink cover adorns the bed which is raised off the floor on a black perspex dais. Weekends are usually spent at a quiet retreat in the country, making a sharp contrast to the busy social life that they lead during the week. Since Jane landed in France she has never stopped working. Film after film has been completed and the success of the record she made with Serge, which was also written and composed by him, Je T’Aime … Moi Non Plus, has led to an LP also written by Serge. Her life is chaotic and busy, it seems as if the telephone never stops ringing. People phone her every day with offers of interviews and films, the next of which is still a closely guarded secret. It was whilst she was making her first film in France, Slogan, that she met and fell in lovewith Serge, an event which seems to have altered her life but through it all she remains the same—a waif of a girl, tall and lanky, in pullover and jeans, serving tea out of her treasured English teapot. Her wardrobe is noticeably small, consisting mainly of casual clothes like pullovers, T-shirts and jeans; with the occasional gipsy-type dress reserved for the evening and worn with gold chains, loop earrings and gipsy belts. She acquires most of her clothes by chance buying, rarely by intentionally setting out on a spending spree. Usually she just spots something she likes in a shop window and ends up by going in and buying it. In London she shops mainly at Countdown, Foale and Tuffin, and Quorum. She buys her jewellery from the Chelsea Antique Market. In Paris she favours the more trendy designers like Mia and Vicky or Jean Bourquin. Jane is perfectly happy spending hours hunting about in antique shops for interesting little knick-knacks, like the 18th-century doll’s house which she gave to her Serge for Christmas.
Would you dare to wear it? The body suit is what top designers have dreamed up for dancing this summer – to be worn with the barest excuse of a skirt, or a floating piece of chiffon. Norman Parkinson photographed some of the most exciting ideas in the modernised Paris Metro.
I would never have thought of sweltering on the Paris Metro as some kind of ‘normal’ experience I would aspire to, but here we are.
Shoes from Charles Jourdan and Walkers.
Fashion Editor Penny Knowles.
Photographed by Norman Parkinson.
Scanned from The Telegraph Magazine, Number 125 (February) 1979.
When it’s not a swimsuit but a playsuit that you want; when you’re not splashing, but lounging prettily under a beach brolly; if you have no wish to get wet, but still want to remain in the swim, these are definitely for you. But just make sure that you don’t get thrown in at the deep end!
Another work of genius by James Wedge, which I wonder might have been somewhat inspired by The Dolly Sisters? Modelled by Vivienne Lynn and another model I don’t recognise.
First-job salaries can present problems when you’re not used to juggling the rent around a new skirt or sweater. But there are ways—as you’ll see on these pages—of looking not just good, but positively great on a tight budget. Learn the rules of the “looking-good-on-a-little” game . . . remember that one pair of pants at £10+ will outlive two pairs that split whenever you sit down; that washable fabrics mean you’ll have no cleaning bills. Learn how to bleach and dye, starch and press properly—so you’ll be able to match vest tops and T-shirts to your new longer flowery skirts and keep them looking fresh. Invest in beautiful leather shoes: they last and look good if polished every day. Spend more on accessories —sometimes—than a new dress. Build your wardrobe around two or three colours—as crazy as you like—and find jolly extras to pull it all together. . . . This may be the summer you always wear a hat. Here is my choice of nine outfits . . . chic, very wearable and all cheap at the price. That’s fashion knowhow.
Following Gaudi’s thought “to be original, return to the origin”, following it down to Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire where William Fox Talbot invented the camera, Norman Parkinson photographed eight dresses conjured from pure air and gauze.
This is like an album where every song is a certified banger. From the model, to the frocks, to the photographer, to the photographer he’s referencing, everything is flawless. Except that I don’t own all these dresses.