Her marsh­mal­low ac­cent, reedy voice and mod­ern look Jane have made Birkin an idol. Gains­bourg’s baby doll, pop­u­lar muse, ac­tress and singer. She has a sense of dis­cre­tion that is in­versely pro­por­tional to her daz­zling reper­toire, which is stud­ded with suc

VOGUE Hommes International (English) - - THE JANE GENIE - IN­TER­VIEW BY Olivier Lalanne David Bai­ley POR­TRAIT

— Jane Birkin came to France at a time when Eng­land was elec­tri­fy­ing the world with its cul­tural revo­lu­tion and its icons — the Bea­tles, the Rolling Stones, Mary Quant, David Bai­ley, Twiggy, David Hem­mings and Ter­ence Stamp, to name but a few. Her an­drog­y­nous fig­ure, as­ton­ished, big doe–eyes, ul­tra–sen­si­tive in­gen­u­ous­ness and ir­re­sistible ac­cent, the in­no­cent baby – doll would, in the bat of an eye­lash, be­come Serge Gains­bourg’s sub­ver­sive babe. Their flam­boy­ant free­dom, classy panache and highly erotic hits, mur­mured so sug­ges­tively, from Je t’aime moi non plus to

La Dé­cadanse or Sea, Sex and Sun would make them the leg­endary show­biz cou­ple of the su­per­hot 1970s. Al­though Serge Gains­bourg has for­ever left his mark on Jane Birkin’s life, she has none­the­less found her own per­sonal path, be­hind a mike or on the big screen un­der the benev­o­lent and fas­ci­nated eyes of Doil­lon, Rivette, Go­dard, Wargnier and Chéreau. Her whis­pery yet taut voice, un­fet­tered spon­tane­ity and a hand­ful of pop­u­lar com­edy films in which she sparkles ( such as

Lucky Pierre and The Wild Goose Chase) have made her a French na­tional trea­sure. At sev­enty, the ac­tress and singer, who con­tin­ues to en­joy con­sid­er­able pop­u­lar­ity re­mains leg­endary ( photos of her, en­dur­ing ob­jects of in­spi­ra­tion, have in­vaded In­sta­gram ) and she con­tin­ues to bring her late men­tor’s mov­ing mu­sic to the stage. We meet her at teatime, dressed in her sig­na­ture jeans and bare­foot in her small­ish house in Paris’s 5th ar­rondisse­ment. In the back­ground we could hear the less–than–mu­si­cal snor­ing of her bull­dog Dolly.

Blow Up

“I mainly re­mem­ber the day of the au­di­tion. I didn’t even know who An­to­nioni was. I was asked to write my name on a wall, and ev­ery three let­ters, to turn my pro­file to see if I was pho­to­genic. An Ital­ian as­sis­tant was re­ally both­er­ing me, and I burst into tears. An­to­nioni came out of the decor and yelled : ‘Stop, that’s enough. I’ve seen what I wanted to see.’ He wanted to see emo­tion, and he had. John Barry, my hus­band at the time, told me that I’d never dare show my­self naked on the set be­cause I al­ways turned the lights out at home. I was seven­teen […]. So, just be­cause he’d said that, I did dare.”

Good­bye Lon­don

“John Barry had just left me and went to the States. I had my baby, Kate, and I found my­self back at home with my par­ents. Ev­ery­thing had col­lapsed. I didn’t want to stay at home wait­ing for some­thing to hap­pen. I was in a restau­rant on the King’s Road with my friend Gabrielle and we’d heard about an au­di­tion for a French film, Slo­gan, which the pret­ti­est girls in Lon­don were flock­ing to. I think the di­rec­tor, Pierre Grim­blat, found me amus­ing. I blessed him for hir­ing me. I don’t know what I’d have be­come in Eng­land. Would I have dared to act on stage, when my mother, Judy Campbell — Noel Coward’s muse — was the most beau­ti­ful woman in Eng­land ac­cord­ing to Ce­cil Beaton, and a huge star ? With my fa­ther’s fam­ily, would I have dared to have a ca­reer with such free­dom as I have had in France ? Un­likely. I think we’re al­ways es­cap­ing from some­thing.”

First meet­ing with Serge

“I first met Serge in France for the screen tests for Pierre Grim­blat’s Slo­gan. He was very swarthy, had an ex­quis­ite, un­usual face, and was wear­ing a mauve shirt. He was caus­tic, sar­cas­tic. Not un­pleas­ant, but I could see he didn’t re­ally care much about any­thing. As the lord of the manor, he could have in­sisted on an­other girl, since the film hung on his name. Marisa Beren­son, in par­tic­u­lar, had just au­di­tioned, and was sub­lime. He was quite kind, and told me that he would never have had the nerve to at­tempt a test in a lan­guage that wasn’t his own. I had learned the texts pho­net­i­cally with­out ing a word of what I was say­ing. I saw the tests re­cently and I was re­ally bad. So the man who loved so­phis­ti­cated, erotic, mys­te­ri­ous women found him­self in the com­pany of a cry baby who was merg­ing cin­ema with her pri­vate life. This dis­gusted him. My life would never be the same again. And de­spite what I would have imag­ined, my par­ents were de­lighted. Af­ter see­ing me so mis­er­able with John Barry, they at last saw me happy. Serge won my mother over be­cause he re­minded her of Eric Maschwitz, who wrote A Nightin

gale Sang in Berke­ley Square es­pe­cially for her. And my fa­ther thought he was ex­tremely funny. The two of them took their sleep­ing pills to­gether like two owls. Each of them knew that they would have to pass muster with the other for me to ac­cept them. They had to like each other. Serge told my sis­ter, ‘The day I die, I will come and get your fa­ther.’ Daddy died four days af­ter Serge.”

“Men have of­ten seen me as their B side, start­ing with Serge.”

My faults are my qual­i­ties

“I suf­fered a lot be­cause of my physique, es­pe­cially at board­ing school. The oth­ers said I was half boy, half girl. I had no breasts, not even a de­vel­op­ing bo­som. It was hor­ri­ble. I was ex­tremely lucky to meet Serge. When he was a stu­dent at the École des Beaux Arts, he had drawn a girl, who looked just like a boy, ex­cept that she had breasts like mine. He took me to the Lou­vre to show me Cranach’s paint­ings, and ex­plained that I was a Cranach and that big breasts fright­ened him. He was ex­ag­ger­at­ing though. He had just come out of a re­la­tion­ship with Bar­dot. But Cranach’s was the type of beauty he pre­ferred. And af­ter the mis­ery of the board­ing school, and my mar­riage, it was in­cred­i­ble meet­ing some­one who found me beau­ti­ful and de­cid­edly erotic. He rec­on­ciled me with my­self. When a man loves you, it changes ev­ery­thing.”

Je t’aime … moi non plus

“Jealousy drove me to per­form the song. I re­mem­ber that Serge was get­ting a tele­vi­sion crew and jour­nal­ists to lis­ten to the ver­sion he’d made with Bar­dot, which was never re­leased, and there was a very pretty girl in a kilt ly­ing on the sofa. When I saw how proud he was to get the jour­nal­ists and the girl on the sofa to lis­ten to it, I thought I’d bet­ter be the one to sing it. Es­pe­cially as other ac­tresses were in­ter­ested. Mireille Darc asked him : ‘So, Ser­gio, what has be­come of that lit­tle song ?’ I didn’t want him to end up in a tele­phone box with a beau­ti­ful girl record­ing an­other ver­sion of Je t’aime … moi non plus, as he’d done with Bar­dot. When he sug­gested I do it, I agreed im­me­di­ately. We met up in a huge stu­dio in Mar­bella and in two takes it was in the bag. Back in Paris, we went for din­ner in the wine cel­lar of the Hô­tel des Beaux Arts. There was a record player, and with­out say­ing a word, Serge put the song on and all of a sud­den all the cou­ples around us stopped talk­ing, their knives and forks in mid – air. Serge pinched me and said : ‘I think we’ve got a hit record.’ We never thought for a mo­ment that the song would be­come such a sym­bol of free­dom — all over the world. Peo­ple lis­tened to it in se­cret, from Spain to Ar­gentina. The Pope banned it, the BBC too, and in Italy the head of Phono­gram Records was thrown in jail. I was mak­ing an­other bad film in Ox­ford and ev­ery day we saw Je t’aime … moi non plus climb­ing higher in the charts. It was crazy.”

“The Prodi­gal Daugh­ter”, Jacques Doil­lon

“This film was the first time that I had re­ceived such re­views, when the crit­ics thought I was good on screen. It touched me deeply to be taken se­ri­ously. I didn’t know Doil­lon’s films, and knew noth­ing about the depth of the psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems drama­tised, and the im­pres­sive amount of di­a­logue. No one had ever of­fered me a part like that, or asked me to have a ner­vous break­down, or to want to be locked up with my fa­ther to find out if I was his favourite daugh­ter. I com­pletely let go. I was sud­denly al­lowed to go bal­lis­tic on screen. It’s no doubt what Char­lotte loves about work­ing with Lars Von Trier. It’s not as dan­ger­ous as it looks […]. Through me, Jacques was talk­ing about his re­la­tion­ship with his own fa­ther. Men have of­ten seen me as their B side, start­ing with Serge. It’s quite fre­quent with film di­rec­tors, Bergman among them. De­spite ap­pear­ances, there was some­thing in­fin­itely sad about me, that ter­ri­ble feel­ing of guilt that has stayed with me since child­hood. Jacques guessed it. Later, we made The Pi­rate. And I let go even more. When the film was screened at Cannes, it caused a scan­dal, and that’s when Pa­trice Chéreau thought of me to play Mari­vaux’s La Fausse

Suiv­ante ( The False Ser­vant ). That was my first stage ex­pe­ri­ence, which fi­nally gave me the courage to sing at the Bat­a­clan. I saw The Prodi­gal Daugh­ter again at the Ciné­math­èque, and Pic­coli and I were re­ally good. If I die, I would like the film to be shown on tele­vi­sion, even at mid­night. And The Pi­rate, please ! Meet­ing Jacques was a real turn­ing point in my ca­reer. And in my pri­vate life, as I’d left Serge, and Jacques and I lived to­gether for thir­teen years, and had Lou.”

Michel Pic­coli

“The en­counter with Michel is the most beau­ti­ful I’ve ever had in the busi­ness. I love his qual­i­ties as a man, and his po­lit­i­cal, so­cial and cul­tural com­mit­ment. And I hold him in great moral es­teem. Not to men­tion as an ac­tor. It’s a dream to play op­po­site him. Some­times, when I stum­bled over cer­tain lines, he would stick them on his hat. Michel doesn’t take him­self se­ri­ously. He has a great sense of hu­mour. He is just like I imag­ine Mas­troianni was.”

“Don Juan 73”, Bar­dot

“We were shoot­ing a scene for the film in a car, and Bar­dot was in tears, be­cause she couldn’t get the take right. I think that Vadim must have said some­thing the night be­fore that re­ally hurt her. When she got out of the car, I saw that peo­ple were de­lighted that she was up­set. She in­spired jealousy, whereas I in­spired friend­li­ness. I wasn’t dan­ger­ous, women didn’t have the im­pres­sion I was go­ing to steal their hus­bands. Bar­dot was ex­tremely gen­er­ous to me, which can’t have been easy in view of our shared in­ter­est in Serge. We had a bed scene to­gether, and we didn’t know what to do, so we thought we ought to sing a song. Bar­dot said : ‘Why couldn’t we sing Je t’aime … moi non plus ?’ I re­fused, and fi­nally we sang My Bon­nie Lies over the Ocean . I ob­served Bar­dot in the tini­est de­tail to find fault with her. Her mouth, her nose, her skin, her hair … She was fab­u­lously beau­ti­ful.”

“The Swim­ming Pool”, Delon, Sch­nei­der

“The film saved me and en­abled me to stay in France. I’d just fin­ished Slo­gan and was due to go back to Eng­land. Serge was heart­bro­ken, and cried for a whole night light­ing his face with a can­dle so I could see his tears. Not long af­ter, Serge and I were din­ing with Pierre Grim­blat, and Jacques Deray came by. It was Grim­blat who had told Deray he had a girl for him who’d never been seen. But Delon and Romy still had to ap­prove. They gave their ap­proval. We turned up in Ra­mat­uelle [ in the South of France ] like gyp­sies, Kate’s nap­pies tied to the roof of the car and her pushchair on the back seat. Serge had hired a huge Amer­i­can car to show off in front of Delon. It was so wide it couldn’t get down the nar­row streets. Romy was an an­gel. Deray was cross with me be­cause I’d turned up for the shoot with my daugh­ter. There was Delon’s son, An­thony, and David, Romy’s son, who were about the same age, and I thought tak­ing Kate along was a good idea. Deray was fu­ri­ous. In the film, I was seven­teen, and sup­pos­edly un­touched, so if the jour­nal­ists saw Kate, that would be end of that idea. Af­ter we ar­gued about it, I locked my­self away in the loo at the villa and cried. Romy found me there and said she was go­ing to ask Deray to apol­o­gise. And he came. She was like that[…]. The at­mos­phere on the shoot was highly erotic. And even if I didn’t know much about the love af­fair be­tween Romy and Delon, you could feel the ten­sion. It was on that I un­der­stood what a team was. The film re­volved largely around Romy and Delon, but the cam­era­men had a photo of me in their camera to boost my morale. Tech­ni­cians are of­ten your best friends on a shoot. More so than the ac­tors.”

“Men’s clothes that are too big are good when you get older. You look frag­ile.”

Pa­trice Chéreau

“I was mak­ing Leave all Fair in Nor­mandy, quite a se­ri­ous film with John Giel­gud, and Chéreau turned up on the set to of­fer me the part of the count­ess in La Fausse

Suiv­ante at Nan­terre. I was re­ally an id­iot, be­cause I didn’t even know who Chéreau was and I thought he wanted to make a film of Mari­vaux’s play. He was so hand­some, so se­duc­tive, that I didn’t want to let him get away. Giel­gud asked him what he was do­ing there and Chéreau told him that he had come to ask me to play the count­ess in La Fausse Suiv­ante. Giel­gud ap­par­ently re­torted ‘Am­bi­tious’, which wasn’t very kind. But Chéreau told me that much later. I went to the Amandiers the­atre with my mother to see his stag­ing of Com­bat de nè­gre et

de chiens, then his opera Lu­cio Silla. See­ing them was a shock, rather like be­ing a wit­ness to a car crash. Pa­trice was the most won­der­ful di­rec­tor I’ve ever worked with.”

Style icon

“I’m ab­so­lutely un­aware of be­ing a style icon, but Lou has told me that my name of­ten crops up on In­sta­gram. It’s hard to ex­plain. I’m English and come from a well–to–do back­ground. That counts for a lot. I could have din­ner with any­one and eat my salad with my fin­gers. I’ve never been con­cerned with whether or not things were right or proper. When I ar­rived in France, I was a copy of Jean Shrimp­ton. At the time, French women were very well– groomed. Ad­mit­tedly, there was Françoise Hardy and her Paco Ra­banne dress, but she wore it knee – length. I had the bot­tom rows of mine re­moved, so that it looked like a long T– shirt. When I look at the photos [ … ]. I didn’t re­alise that just how trans­par­ent they were. It’s the ef­fect cre­ated by the pho­tog­ra­phers’ flash bulbs. Had I known I wouldn’t have worn knick­ers. Serge also bought me some pretty Saint Lau­rent dresses, and had an haute cou­ture model made for me in white lace for a ball at the Roth­schilds. I also re­mem­ber climb­ing the steps at Cannes in a dress I wore back – to – front. And then there’s that fa­mous Por­tuguese bas­ket I’d bought in a Lon­don mar­ket. I never went any­where with­out it. If I was re­fused en­try to Maxim’s be­cause of it, I didn’t care. I had that self – as­sur­ance. When I see photos of me in 1968, with my doll’s eyes ac­cen­tu­ated by eye­liner, the ex­ag­ger­ated mouth, and the fringe, I think they’re hor­ri­ble. My most in­ter­est­ing pe­riod was when I was forty. I started wear­ing sin­glets in Scot­tish cot­ton, Agnès b men’s shirts. over trousers that were three times too big, paired with a thin red leather belt and sneak­ers with no laces. Men’s clothes that are too big are good when you get older. You look frag­ile. There comes a time when you have to give up ladies’ dresses. You look ten years older. It’s like make–up. At a cer­tain age, you have to stop play­ing with false eye­lashes. Oth­er­wise you look ter­ri­fy­ing.”

Gains­bourg, Birkin, the leg­endary cou­ple

“You’re ex­ag­ger­at­ing, we weren’t the Kennedys ! We must have rep­re­sented a form of free­dom. The twenty– year age gap, our lifestyle, we went out at night, and came home to wake up Kate and Char­lotte be­fore school, and then slept in the day­time. That was my fan­tasy, our lack of taboos [ … ]. Serge used to say : ‘We are not an im­moral cou­ple, we are an amoral cou­ple’.”

Serge in pri­vate

“He looked dark, ‘mad and dan­ger­ous’ as peo­ple said of Byron, but he was a clown. I don’t know any writer–poet of his ilk with such imag­i­na­tion. He loved en­ter­tain­ing the chil­dren and did it like no one else could. He wasn’t a brood­ing artist who sat alone bored in a cor­ner. He wanted peo­ple to come and see him ; he was very ac­ces­si­ble. And, at the same time, very sar­cas­tic, bril­liant, some­times cruel for the pure plea­sure of mak­ing a pun. I re­fused to speak to him for sev­eral days af­ter he wrote on an al­bum cover : ‘Take women for what they’re not and leave them for what they are’. I found it ugly and hurt­ful, and he said : ‘What did you ex­pect, Janette, it’s just wit.’ He was ob­vi­ously right. I re­mem­ber a num­ber of things about him that were so funny. Dur­ing a din­ner, I was sit­ting next to Arthur Ru­bin­stein. Sud­denly, I said : ‘Serge, he is grop­ing me un­der the ta­ble.’ To which he an­swered, ‘Let him, Janette, he’s a ge­nius.’ Noth­ing is more se­duc­tive than hu­mour. And I have never met any­one more gen­er­ous, ca­pa­ble of tak­ing 500 francs out of his at­taché case to give to a taxi driver he would never see again, so that he could have his teeth done. He was a prince. In the end, we were like old friends. I loved be­ing his con­fi­dante, that suited me fine.”

Her ac­cent

“With­out my ac­cent, I would have had a dif­fer­ent ca­reer. The French gave me a real gift in ac­cept­ing me very quickly. They found me amus­ing, in large part be­cause of my ac­cent and the mis­takes I made in French. It’s no doubt one of the rea­sons I never sought to im­prove it. I am some­times cross with my­self for not hav­ing made more of an ef­fort. I re­mem­ber on the shoot of The Swim­ming Pool that Deray got me to talk with a pen­cil in my mouth, so that I would ar­tic­u­late. It was hu­mil­i­at­ing and it didn’t make much of a dif­fer­ence. When Téch­iné was shoot­ing The Brontë Sis­ters, I asked him if I could be in the film. He said that there was al­ready Ad­jani, Hup­pert and Pisier, that he couldn’t see a role for me. I wanted to play the brother and the Bron­tës were English. He an­swered : ‘Yes, but I’m mak­ing a French film.’ So there you go, I wasn’t al­ways right for the role, there were some parts I couldn’t play.”

Re­morse, re­grets …

“It doesn’t do you any good, it just eats you up. Not to men­tion the guilt that has haunted me since I was twelve. It’s quite a men­tal con­struct to tell your­self that ev­ery­thing’s your fault. I don’t even dare ad­mit to my cur­tains that I’m happy be­cause I think I’ll be pun­ished the next day. When I told this to Kate and asked her whether she ever felt the same thing, she said : ‘No, I don’t think I’m God’.”

The Gains­bourg style

“It’s all about me, he lis­tened to me a lot. To start with, it took him some time be­fore he grew a beard; he looked younger than he was, and it gave him a com­plex. I thought he was very hand­some with an eight – day beard, so he bought him­self a trim­mer and kept it like that. It looked like nat­u­ral make – up, cre­ated shad­ows and sculpted his face. You want to look af­ter men with beards, be­cause you have the feel­ing that they’d been sleep­ing rough. And yet, I found that hav­ing no hair on his chest or his arms looked very dis­tin­guished. I bought him dowa­ger—duchess— style bracelets that he wore on his wrist and a di­a­mond to wear around his neck. It was stolen one New Year’s Eve in Pi­galle and I re­placed it with a sap­phire. I’m al­ler­gic to socks. You im­me­di­ately imag­ine a guy naked with just his socks on, which is ghastly. One day, I was in the Repetto store and, in a bas­ket full of sale items, I found a pair of men’s pumps in soft white glove leather. I bought them for Serge. He had flat feet and shoes hurt him. He wore those white pumps with­out socks his whole life. The same goes for un­der­wear. I find it much more erotic to be naked un­der jeans. And I told him so.”


“I love funny ac­tresses, come­di­ennes, Mar­i­lyn ob­vi­ously, she was ir­re­sistible. But also Shirley MacLaine in The Apart­ment, and all Billy Wilder’s films. Au­drey Hep­burn, and Les­lie Caron, an­other ‘pretty ugly duck­ling’, as we said at the time, whom you didn’t know how to use in France. Her lit­tle pout in Gigi was to die for, far more in­ter­est­ing than beau­ti­ful ‘femmes fa­tales’. I was so sad when Mar­i­lyn died. I told my­self that it wasn’t pos­si­ble, not her, she made us laugh so much. Garbo OK, but not her!”

“Serge was a prince. I loved be­ing his con­fi­dante.”

“Baby alone in Baby­lone”

“This was the al­bum of the break–up, when ev­ery­thing changed. All of a sud­den, Serge got me to sing his wounds, his fem­i­nine side. It was very un­set­tling to sing about the wounds that you have trig­gered. Be­fore that, he wrote lighter songs for me, and some­times asked oth­ers to write lyrics to his mu­sic for me when he hadn’t got time. That’s how Philippe Labro came to write Lolita go home. I must say that I was tired of singing the lit­tle girl who ex­cites gen­tle­men in trains. I had the feel­ing that I had be­come some­thing else. We recorded Baby alone in Baby­lone in eight days. Serge wrote two songs a night, keep­ing awake with cig­a­rettes and black cof­fee. He was ex­hausted. He wrote in cap­i­tal let­ters on sheets of pa­per be­cause I had trou­ble read­ing his writ­ing. They were thrown into the bin. Can you be­lieve it? I sang as high as pos­si­ble so that I wouldn’t dis­ap­point him; I knew he liked that. It was over­whelm­ing to see him be­hind the glass. He didn’t care whether I could be un­der­stood or not, what he was af­ter was the emo­tion. The other evening, I plucked up the courage to watch an old in­ter­view with him, on YouTube, in which he said that I was the best at singing emo­tion. I didn’t have a con­tract with a record la­bel, there was no hurry, and I could see that he was worn out. I told him: ‘Serge, there’s no hurry, we have time to record this.’ But he was ab­so­lutely set on it. He said : ‘I owe you that’.”

In love

“As soon as I fell in love, I was over­come by the fear that I would lose the man I loved, con­vinced that all the other girls were more in­ter­est­ing than I was. This in­se­cu­rity, this lack of self–con­fi­dence is fright­en­ing for the other per­son. Es­pe­cially as it in­evitably goes hand in hand with jealousy. I must have been im­pos­si­ble to live with. I am very happy to­day to no longer be in love. When love isn’t there, pain doesn’t ex­ist ei­ther.”


“I don’t be­lieve in des­tiny. I think we can change ev­ery­thing all the time. Ac­ci­dents are the best things in ex­is­tence. They force you to leave a route that seemed to be mapped out, and it’s of­ten when you branch out that you meet some in­cred­i­ble guy who changes your life, or an un­usual project that turns your ca­reer on its head. It’s of­ten when things aren’t go­ing well that we are forced into do­ing them dif­fer­ently and they sud­denly be­come in­ter­est­ing.”


“Be­fore, when I was asked how I wanted to die, I would an­swer: ‘The first’. Alas, life has de­cided oth­er­wise. We are all a lit­tle scared of death when we feel it ap­proach­ing. The idea is so dis­tant, so ab­stract. We have trou­ble imag­in­ing it. Over the last three years, I have come close to it twice, and, sur­pris­ingly, I didn’t panic. I was more fright­ened of not hav­ing time to say what I wanted to say, to leave things in or­der, to be for­given.”

If there was only one song left…

“Les Des­sous chics, be­cause it re­ally is a por­trait of Serge. Chic un­der­wear rep­re­sents the mod­esty of feel­ings, made up out­ra­geously in blood red. Les Des­sous chics means keep­ing one’s true deep in­side, as frag­ile as a silk stock­ing. No fur­ther com­ment.” VOGUE HOMMES

“One day I was in the Repetto store, and in a bas­ket full of sale items, I found a pair of men’s pumps in soft white glove leather. He wore them with­out socks his whole life.”

In 1970 ( left and above ), and Serge Gains­bourg at home in the Rue de Verneuil in 1991 ( be­low ).

Les­lie Caron, in 1955. “She was far more in­ter­est­ing than beau­ti­ful femmes fa­tales.”

With Pierre Grim­blat at the pre­miere of Slo­gan, in 1969. “I didn’t re­alise the dress was so trans­par­ent. Had I known, I wouldn’t have worn knick­ers.”

With Serge Gains­bourg, at the Cannes Fes­ti­val in 1979. “We must have rep­re­sented a form of free­dom.”

With Serge Gains­bourg at New Jimmy’s, in 1968. “I was never con­cerned with whether or not things were right or proper.”

Pa­trice Chéreau, in 1977. “He was the most won­der­ful di­rec­tor I’ve ever worked with.”

With Alain Delon and Romy Sch­nei­der at the pre­miere of The Swim­ming Pool, and un­der the watch­ful eye of Mau­rice Ronet ( be­low ), dur­ing film­ing, in 1968.

In Don Juan 1973. “Bar­dot was fab­u­lously beau­ti­ful.”

With Alain Delon on the set of The Swim­ming Pool, in 1968. “The at­mos­phere was highly erotic. ”

“The Swim­ming Pool is the film that saved me and en­abled me to stay in France.”

With Jacques Doil­lon, in the 1980s. “Meet­ing Jacques was a real turn­ing point in my ca­reer and in my pri­vate life.”

With Juli­ette Gréco and Michel Pic­coli, in 1969.

With Joe Dalle­san­dro in Je t’aime, moi non plus, in 1978. In Play­boy, Novem­ber 1970 ( right ).

With Serge Gains­bourg dur­ing film­ing of Slo­gan, in 1968

With her first hus­band, the com­poser John Barry.

Film­ing Blow Up, with David Hem­mings, in 1966.

With Serge Gains­bourg, in 1968, at the pre­miere of Slo­gan. “He was very swarthy and had an ex­quis­ite, un­usual face.”

“Serge didn’t care whether I could be un­der­stood or not. What he was af­ter was the emo­tion.”

With John Barry ( left ) in 1966, and Jacques Doil­lon ( be­low ), in 1983

With Serge Gains­bourg, at home in the 1970s.

“As soon as I fell in love, I was over­come by the fear that I would lose the man I loved.”

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