Jane Birkin wears many hats — singer, actress, fashion icon and activist — but this Sunday, she’ll be wearing her big ol’ birthday hat to celebrate turning 68. In honor of the occasion, we’ve compiled a short list on how to get an Hermès bag named after you, just like Birkin did. Bonne chance, journeymen. It’s going to be a long ride.
1. Get Blacklisted by a Government
In 1969, Birkin and her lover, Serge Gainsbourg, released a sultry duet called “Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus” about the impossibility of love, which Gainsbourg originally penned for Brigitte Bardot. It reached number one in the U.K., number two in Ireland and was banned for its erotic nature in several countries, including the U.S., Brazil, Sweden, Spain and Italy.
2. Only Shack Up with Famous Men
Birkin linked arms with a string of legendary men, beginning in 1965 with her first husband, John Barry, who’s best known for his compositions in James Bond films. The marriage ended in 1968, and Birkin moved on to Gainsbourg. The pair were together for 13 years. Director Jacques Doillon was next (and reportedly last) in line. The Guardian cited that the relationship ended due to Birkin’s grief over Gainsbourg’s death in 1991.
3. Rally Behind a Cause
Parisians love a protest, and Birkin is a sucker for them. Since heading to Paris in the 60s, she’s marched for pro-abortion, anti-capital punishment, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq to name a few. “I try not to lie awake with that awful thought, ‘I could have helped,'” she told The Guardian. “For me, the worst words in the world are, ‘Fuck, I could have been there.'”
4. Have a Lesbian Tryst On-Screen
In 1973, a French-Italian drama was released called Don Juan (Or If Don Juan Were a Woman). It was the last feature film for Bardot, who stars as the lead; Birkin played her lover Clara.
5. Always Fly First Class
“I remember it well. I’d been upgraded by Air France on a flight to London [in 1981], and was sitting next to a man,” Birkin told the Telegraph in 2012. “I’m not quite sure what type of bag I had with me—my husband, Jacques Doillon, had reversed his car over my basket, crushed it on purpose not two days before. Little did he know that on this airplane journey, when everything fell out of whatever bag I had, the man next to me said: ‘You should have one with pockets.’ I said: ‘The day Hermès make one with pockets I will have that,’ and he said: ‘But I am Hermès and I will put pockets in for you.'”
That man was former Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas. Birkin preceded to draw a mock-up of the bag on one of the flight’s “sick bags,” asking Dumas to make it larger than the Kelly bag, named after Grace Kelly, but smaller than Gainsbourg’s suitcase. The iconic Birkin bag debuted in 1984.