Sweet Charlotte Gainsbourg

French Royalty and YSL muse extraordinaire


BY: Claire Connors

Singer, actor, muse, Charlotte Gainsbourg may be worshipped as French royalty but she was actually born in London. The daughter of legendary Parisian crooner, Serge Gainbourg (1928-1991), and British actress/singer Jane Birkin, she was raised mostly in Paris but she clearly picked up her mother’s English accent. Listening to her sing/speak on her new single, “Rest” is like sipping a glass of Champagne. Her lyrical mix of the two accents is delightful to the senses and oh-so sexy.

The album, Rest, her first in seven years, is due out in November, and features collaborations with Paul McCartney (yes, that Paul McCartney) and Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. The second single is “Deadly Valentine.” The video, which Charlotte directed, follows the fictional romance between Charlotte and British singer Dev Hynes from childhood to aging adults. Alas, she didn’t cast her mother, Jane, to play her older self but it’s an glorious film nonetheless.


When Charlotte was born in 1971, Serge and Jane were at the height of their popularity, attractiveness, and glamour. They were followed and photographed wherever they went. And they went everywhere. The extended Gainsbourg/Birkin clan—Charlotte has six half-siblings as the result of her parents many relationships—were fashionable and intriguing, much like the Kardashians are today. If only reality television had existed back then… Need more proof of just how hot they were? The fashionable Jane Birkin was the inspiration for that Hermes Birkin bag that hangs on every fashionista’s arm. Not to be outdone, Charlotte was named the face of Saint Laurent earlier this year and is the newest muse to YSL Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello.

Now 46 and remarkably alluring, Charlotte is one of France’s biggest stars. Ever since winning a César Award for Most Promising Actress in 1985, she’s been appearing in great films such as Jane Eyre (1996) and The Cement Garden (1993)  and became an international sensation with her collaborations with Lars Van Trier in Anitchrist (2009), Melancholia (2011), and the sexual epics, Nymphomaniac: Vol 1 and Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2 (2013). For the films, the accomplished singer recorded a sexy cover of the Jimi Hendrix song, “Hey Joe” (the name of her character in the Nymphomaniac movies). Check out the video below starring Kate Moss.


Next up, Charlotte appears in the thriller, The Snowman starring Michael Fassbender, which arrives in theaters October 19th.