This is my favourite Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg song, and I just think she’s so beautiful in this video of them frolicking in Europe in the late ‘60’s. That whole period has got me riveted again – maybe it’s because it started cropping up again on the catwalks in the last spate of shows (thanks Pat and Guido!) or maybe it’s just because I’m sick, OH SO SICK of the 80’s now. Please put them away people, and give them a decent burial. They were great but leggings and Bananarama skirts have had their place in the sun again and it’s time to let them go. Forever, hopefully.
Jane was the quintessence of cool back in the day with her gorgeous natural beauty and her affair with her much older French lover, Serge Gainsbourg, one of the most admired artists of the time. Together they collaborated on many songs and films, the most controversial being the fabulous Je t’aime… Moi non plus. The French side of my family always call me Jane Birkin when I speak French, but that is sadly only to do with my terrible French accent, not my effortless cool and striking resemblance to the brunette beauty.
So this season I want long, beautiful hair and a natural radiant glow (with a little gap in my teeth), a groovy wardrobe of flares and just the perfect onionskin thin t-shirt. A bit like Jane really.
Growing up in Sydney, Australia in the 70’s and 80’s was like living in a big glamour deprivation tank. It was the land of acid wash stretch jeans and scrunchies, in a time before mullet hair was even remotely ironic (hello Jason Donovan, I’m talking to you!) and a fluoro pink sweatshirt with a screenprinted koala on it was considered the height of chic. Even Kylie Minogue was daggy in those days, playing a teenage mechanic on Neighbours. And anyone who’s seen the Locomotion video knows she didn’t get fabulous until long after she left those sunny shores.
From when I first started getting pocket money I started buying makeup (baby blue Aziza eyeshadow of course, to go with my blue eyes, naturally!) By the time I was fourteen I was just a little bit obsessed with fashion, wallpapering my room with the supermodels at the dawn of their era. I yearned for a life where people pronounced ‘Chanel’ in the French way, not ‘Channel’, where the women were 8 feet tall with perfect whiplash hair and clad in skintight, dominatrix Versace. A world where white leather cowboy boots Did. Not. Exist.
So after doing an Arts degree at Sydney University, I left for London where I worked in marketing and fashion PR. But eventually the siren call of makeup became too strong to resist, and on returning to Sydney I decided to pursue makeup as a career.
Over the next few years I assisted in Sydney and Paris, and moved to London in 2007. Long having been an admirer of her work, I was lucky enough to be taken on as first assistant to the amazing Kay Montano whose extraordinary makeup skills and brilliant sense of humour make going to work every day a pleasure. And sometimes at work, surrounded by couture as I prepare a long-legged Russian beauty for the camera, I have to pinch myself and realise that those fuzzy koala sweatshirts are a long way away.