Who: Jane Birkin, Elia Einhorn
What: An evening with Jane Birkin
Where: French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves., 212-355-6160
When: Monday, January 29, $35, 7:00
Why: In 2010, London-born French actress, model, and singer appeared at the French Institute Alliance Française for two concerts and a staged reading with Wajdi Mouawad. On January 29, she returns to FIAF for a conversation, Q&A, and book signing three days before her highly anticipated “Birkin Gainsbourg The Symphonic” show at Carnegie Hall with Wordless Music Orchestra, pianist Nobuyuki Nakajima, and special guest Rufus Wainwright. In 2013, Birkin told the Independent that she found it “very flattering to have the most beautiful songs, probably, in the French language written for one,” referring to Gainsbourg, who passed away in 1991 at the age of sixty-two, while also asking, “How much talent did I really have? Perhaps not that much.” Birkin first caught the public’s attention with roles in such films as Richard Lester’s The Knack . . . and How to Get It, Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup and Kaleidoscope, and Joe Massott’s Wonderwall. (She has also been in films by Jacques Rivette, James Ivory, and Hong Sang-soo.) Birkin is most famous for the ten-year relationship she had with Serge Gainsbourg, with whom she made several films and records, including the album and movie Je t’aime . . . moi non plus; they also had a child together, actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist, Melancholia). In addition, Birkin has children from her relationships with British composer John Barry and French director Jacques Doillon, as well as five grandchildren. The seventy-one-year-old philanthropist and two-time César nominee recently announced her retirement from acting after starring in the Oscar-winning short La femme et le TGV. Birkin’s achievements are many, but for the fashion-obsessed crowd, she’s probably most adored as the inspiration for the Hermés Birkin bag — one can barely type it without calling it “the iconic Birkin bag” — an incredibly expensive, instantly recognizable handbag from the high-end French accessories firm. The English-language conversation at FIAF, moderated by Pitchfork’s Elia Einhorn, will be followed by a signing of Birkin’s Attachments, her 2014 photo-essay collaboration with photographer Gabrielle Crawford.