We Can't Handle How Cool Jane Birkin Looks in Converse Trainers

The term "style icon" is thrown around all too easily, but in the instance of Jane Birkin, the claim is indisputable. Now 70 years old, both her insouciance and her indelible mark on the fashion industry remains. Young girls still fervently channel her circa 1968 wardrobe, while older women look to her as a beacon of what's possible in your more mature years. Both camps will be delighted to know that, upon being photographed and interviewed by luxury leather-goods brand Smythson, she wore unlaced, scuffed-up Converse sneakers. Oh, to be a grown woman making such laissez-faire fashion choices.

Only a few hours ago did Birkin also meet her modern, self-confessed imitator, Alexa Chung, for an interview at the V&A museum. Chung dedicated her entire weekend to posting archival shots of the English actress and musician, while @janebirkindaily continues to gather a fan club, adding to its 128k-strong following. The world's obsession shall never waver, and with the kind of cool, collected and candid quotes like those below, it will only grow stronger. Keep reading to see Birkin's views on travelling in style, what she buys from Duty-Free and which fashion items she's owned for over 50 years.

Jane Birkin on packing her suitcase


(Image credit: Annemarieke van Drimmelen for Smythson)

"I admire people who have a travel suit and haven't forgotten where they put their earplugs because they've got everything stored in a little pouch—but I've never been organised on a plane, ever. I try and travel light. For in-flight luggage, the Smythson Burlington Holdall (£1395) is just the thing, or the Hermés bag I designed."

Jane Birkin on Duty-Free shopping


(Image credit: Annemarieke van Drimmelen for Smythson)

"I go through Duty-Free, and I don't know how people manage to be so chic! I buy everything! I can't resist. Sisley—I pick that up in airports—there's a pump that's wonderful that you can use day and night. In Germany, if you can find Dr Hauschka, it's a bit of a thrill."

Jane Birkin on English versus French style


(Image credit: Annemarieke van Drimmelen for Smythson)

"The French are more sophisticated, but perhaps the English are more original … I came to Paris for the first time because I was sent to a finishing school. The French girls used to mock us in the Metro, they could see we were English because we were so badly dressed. They were all impeccable, but they were all quite the same. It wasn't yet the swinging '60s, and we didn't know how to turn ourselves out."

Jane Birkin on "borrowing" from hotels


(Image credit: Annemarieke van Drimmelen for Smythson)

"In terms of 'borrowing' things from hotels, I've stolen a few cushions from Air France. I used to steal from Maxims, but all the waiters were in on it. I used to fill my basket with all its plates. I even had the silverware under my shirt once, and when I went to sign autographs on the way out it all fell out."

Jane Birkin on wardrobe classics


(Image credit: Annemarieke van Drimmelen for Smythson)

"After toiletries, I'm always wearing the same thing, so I pack a couple of shirts, a couple of pairs of trousers and that's it! I go to Agnès B—I always wear her silk tops, I have one that is 50 years old. She re-did one for me for the show. My daughter, Lou, is a great person for fashion; she takes me to Isabel Marant, and I go and pick up things from Hermès because they let me—I like its men's V-neck cashmere jerseys. I've always liked Dries Van Noten, and then there's Saint Laurent for the shirts and ties, and the eternal Le Smoking suit, which has gone on being wonderful for fifty years."

Read the rest of Jane's interview with Smythson in the brand's journal.

Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the Editor in Chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was headhunted to launch the UK sister site and social channels, implement a localised content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 16 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph and MatchesFashion.com, among many others. Hannah is often called upon for her take on trends, becoming known as a person with their finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the fashion space for stylish Brits.

Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy son and highly Instagrammable cat.