Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg were among the most glamourous, unconventional and sexy couples of the last century. Their scandalous love story filled the tabloids during more than a decade; snapshots of the couple are still admired for their scruffy glamorous style. They met in 1968 on the set of the movie Slogan by Pierre Grimblat: she was a young British actress, while he already was an important figure in French culture. In 1969 they recorded Je t’aime… moi non plus, the song he had previously recorded with Brigitte Bardot, whom he had dated for a while: the “ultimate love song” was destined to become an everlasting symbol of their relationship.
Their affair is well documented but the film-maker Andrew Birkin, Jane’s brother, has been documenting his sister’s life well before 1969. For example, the picture above was taken in 1964, when Jane’s acting career was about to start. The shot, that now would be considered a mirror selfie, includes a dressing table, on which some toiletries can be seen.
The white box with dark trims contained Lanvin Extrait de Parfum – Arpege, My Sin or even Scandal. Right behind it you can see a grey perfume box. That’s unmistakably a Dior perfume, with the beautiful oval label topped by a bow. It’s impossible to read the label but we can dig Dior perfume archives a bit. That was the box of three perfumes launched before 1964.
Diorling, created by Paul Vacher and launched in 1963, was a smooth chypre scent with floral accents of rose, jasmine and lily of the valley.
The classic Miss Dior, created by Jean Carles and Paul Vacher and released in 1947, was a clean leathery scent with aldehydes, gardenia and bergamot in the top notes, giving way to carnation, iris, orris root, jasmine, lily of the valley, rose and narcissus in the middle notes.
Diorissimo, created by Edmond Roudnitska in 1956, was the revolutionary ode to lily of the valley, a symbolical flower in European culture (see the legend of Saint Leonard of Noblac, the dragon slayer).
I can totally see young Birkin wearing Diorissimo. What are your guesses?
Thanks to Elena Vosnaki for identifying the Lanvin Extrait de Parfum box.