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Charlotte Gainsbourg and denim have history.
“I’ve always been quite a fanatic in regards to denim,” Gainsbourg tells BAZAAR.com. The award-winning musician, actor, and overall style icon can trace her love of good jeans back to her childhood, absorbing her iconic parents’ (Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg) known appreciation for the material.
Yet after years collecting, wearing, and rewearing vintage denim, Gainsbourg says most pairs left something to be desired. Now, at 50, she’s found her holy grail pairs by creating them herself in a collaboration with Zara, available now.
“I can never find the right fitting for me, so that’s why this collection means a lot,” Gainsbourg says, calling from Paris. “It’s really what I wanted to wear.”
What Gainsbourg wants to wear are effortless, unfussy separates: a dark-wash cigarette jean here, an oversized denim jacket there, and smooth leather accessories to round out the look. Her Zara edit is clothing that appears neat by being un-neat, she says.
What it isn’t is the sprawling fare usually found in high-caliber collaborations—and that’s the point. The idea was to create one or two full looks that women could layer however they like.
Gainsbourg applied the philosophy she uses to choose film and music projects to deciding what would make the final cut: “I tried to please myself,” she says.
She also infused the collection with a sense of personal history, in some ways more obvious than others. A coat that Gainsbourg remembers her father wearing influenced a corduroy trench. The entire collection’s laid-back aesthetic, meanwhile, channels her father’s house growing up.
“He had a lot of objects in his house, and he used to put them in a certain way, and it looked like a whole mess, but it was a very well organized mess,” Gainsbourg explains. That insouciant facade is at play in her slightly-transparent t-shirts and straight-leg jeans. “The looks are not messy, but they do give an impression of not caring.”
There’s no questioning that this collection is one hundred percent Charlotte Gainsbourg. But as our call winds down, Gainsbourg admits she wants her Zara pieces to be more than personal.
“The thing that I’m really curious about, and that I’m hoping for, is to see exactly the opposite of who I am wearing these clothes,” Gainsbourg says. “I’m hoping that it’ll fit any type of woman, because that’s what I want to see. You want to see a personality—you don’t want to see just clothes.”
Shop select items from Charlotte Gainsbourg Collection for Zara above and at zara.com.
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