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styleThe Croft2023

The Wardrobe I Would Raid

Considering the wardrobe she would raid, Ruby looks at the iconic Jane Birkin, and how her infamous style continues to draw us in.

By Ruby Smith, First Year, English

The Croft Magazine // Considering the wardrobe she would raid, Ruby looks at the iconic Jane Birkin, and how her infamous style continues to draw us in.

I’ve always seen personal style as a collage. A collection of moments, pieces and influences that build together to form what you wear and how you wear it. Therefore, when it comes to style inspirations the list could be endless. It’s almost impossible to pin down one individual from a singular era who embodies who you are and what you wear.

So, while I must reassure you that my inspirations are endless, after much deliberation and research (aka Pinterest scrolling) I came to a decision of the wardrobe I would raid. And who else could it be but Jane Birkin herself?

Her name itself represents so much. The Birkin Bag is one of the most iconic staples of luxury design; her influence is carved all over the fashion world. Her 70s British-gone-Parisian style is the perfect balance between classy and risqué that makes for timeless pieces that I would happily steal today.

Birkin is shown to subvert the expectations of style through the way she uses unconventional items. Despite the iconic Hermès bag being named after her, Birkin had a similarly infamous bag; one that was a little more budget friendly. Her iconic wicker basket went everywhere with her. No matter the formality or practicality of where ever she was attending, the basket was spotted on her arm. Claiming the use of the basket was due to how normal women’s bags weren’t big enough, Birkin used the basket to enforce practicality into her outfits. Paring it with a classically chic fur-coat, we see how Birkin gorgeously combines the classy with the convenient.

Her evening wear was just as revolutionary and iconic. Birkin’s dress for a French film premier places her with other icons Kate Moss and Marilyn Monroe in the competition for most iconic (almost) naked dresses of all time. Loosely accessorised with flowing hair, hippy-style necklaces and the iconic basket bag, Birkin blurs the line between formal and casual – her originally simple outfits becoming unforgettable.

©Emily Fromant

Another one of Birkin’s iconic event looks, this dress was actually one she reinvented herself. Talking to Leandra Cohen, she describes how she used to “make up stuff [with my clothes]; that was fun in the old days. You could do that sort of thing: wear evening dresses back to front because it amused you, with a brooch on the stomach.”. This already gorgeous crochet dress is elevated through the risks and creative choices she makes. As well as telling a story of her individuality.

The carefree, summery hippy style of the 60s and 70s was also clear in Birkin’s wardrobe. Combing delicate white tops and bootcut jeans with sturdier heels and chunky belts, Birkin creates a blend of styles. Expertly mixing the hippy style with the Parisian city chic. The simplicity of her outfits add to the timeless effect, making her wardrobe to desirable even 50 years on.

Of course, it’s almost impossible to talk about Jane Birkin’s most iconic and covetable wardrobe staples without talking about her personal Birkin bag. With the average Birkin bag costing around $26,000, most owners keep theirs in the most pristine of conditions. Birkin however has a different attitude. Overflowing hers with personal possessions, charms, stickers and scarves, her’s has an eclectic spin of style to classically reserved bag. Designed by Hermès executive Jean-Louis Dumas, he made the bag at Birkin’s request to have a bigger version of The Kelly to fit all her things in. This shows why Jane Birkin’s style is so appealing, the way it is both aesthetically gorgeous and really quite practical.

Featured image: Emily Fromant

Which fashion icon's wardrobe would you choose to raid?