Gainsbourg and I are sitting in a chic but uncomfortable corner booth in a hotel cafe in Greenwich Village, New York. The singer, actor and style champion has just come back from Paris fashion week; FrenchVogue is full of pictures of her looking glam in a see-through shirt and tailored suit. She is dressed more simply today, wearing what she describes as her “jean uniform”: skinny jeans and a white T-shirt that, upon closer inspection, bears a Saint Laurent logo and probably costs a small fortune. She leads a jet-set life and works in the most extrovert of industries, but remains notoriously private and uncomfortable with attention. She fiddles anxiously with her necklace as we talk, avoiding too much eye contact. Having to be trailed by bodyguards as a teenager, having all eyes on her while her would-be kidnappers were arrested and, eventually, sentenced to several years in jail, must have been mortifying.