IT'S NOT A BAG. IT'S A BIRKIN!!
Posted on 24 January 2018
WOULD YOU BUY A HERMES BIRKIN?
It’s a simple yes or no answer. Or is it?
Whether you agree or not, there is no doubting that the Hermes Birkin bag is the ultimate handbag goal. It says “I’ve made it” to other fashionistas as it sits cradled on your arm although to others it’s an obscene, unjustifiable waste of money.
From Cannes to St. Bart’s, Hong Kong to Dubai, the legendary Hermes Birkin is unsurpassed as the most coveted and prestigious handbag in the world today. With stunning craftsmanship and beauty, no other handbag has such an enthusiastic following among world famous celebrities and elite shoppers around the globe.
Each Hermes Birkin handbag is hand made by a single craftsman with the highest quality of leather, hardware and stitching. Depending on the materials used, which can range from crocodile, alligator, ostrich, lizard, Togo, Epsom, Clemence and Swift leaters, there can be up to a six year wait for one of these prized handbags.
So how did the world’s most famous bag come to life?
It all started from a chance encounter in first class aboard a short Air France Paris to London flight in 1981. Hermes chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas was seated next to Jane Birkin, who was trying to place her bag into the overhead compartment.
Whist trying to jam the bag into the overhead she dropped it causing all the contents to fall to the floor leaving Jane to scramble to collect her items and stuff them back into her bag. She is said to have complained about not being able to find a weekend bag to fit her style. Enter Jean-Louis! He suggested a bag with pockets. Then and there the two of them sat and designed a bag together. Short of paper they used the airplane sickness bag to sketch the design.
The rest is history!
Today, Jane Birkin receives an annual royalty from Hermes for the use of her name, something that will continue after her death. She donates all funds to charities of her choice, some of which have helped with Earthquake relief in Japan and feeding the poor in France. The amount is said to be in excess of £50,000.
Jane originally accepted a free bag in exchange for the use of her name but once she saw the huge amount of money Hermes was making she demanded they fork out the funds!
Jane only uses one Birkin at a time, she is currently on her fifth. Her Birkin of choice is always in a neutral colour. She likes to add her own personalisation to each bag, adorning them with charms and patches to make the bag appear less “snobbish” and more suited to her causal Parisian style.
Jane keeps each bag until it is wrecked with wear and tear. Only then will she get a new one and she then auctions off the used bag for a charity of her choice.
It made its official debut in 1984 but wasn’t an immediate hit. The Birkin gained popularity in the 90’s as the rise of the IT-bag became a worldwide trend.
If you’re lucky you can pick up a Hermes Birkin for around £5,000 but prices do rise each year.
It has been reported in the past that the bags are a better investment than stocks or gold and over the past 35 years they have indeed performed better on the stock market.
The world’s most expensive handbag, a rare Himalayan crocodile Birkin with white gold detailing and 245 diamonds, was sold in 2016 at a Christie’s auction house in Hong Kong by an anonymous buyer for £208,175!!
The White Himalaya Birkin (named after the mountains in which it looks like) is handmade from Nilotiicus Crocodile skin, encrusted with over 250 diamonds on its 18 karat gold hardware and now holds the title of world’s most expensive handbag.
Why is this bag so expensive you ask? White or albino crocs are incredibly rare, the dying process for the bag is also slow and difficult.
Kim K and Victoria Beckham both have “cheaper” versions of the Nilotiicus.
Oh to see it in the flesh!
‘It’s not a bag. It’s a Birkin!’
So how do you buy a Birkin?
In 2001, an entire episode of Sex and the City was dedicated to Samantha's attempt to skip the five year waiting list for a Birkin bag, and in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, "it wasn't even her style." This bag is all about status, and 15 years later the process hasn't got any easier as now there is a six year waiting list. There are numerous theories about how you can do a Samantha and skip the wait.
Michelle Goad, CEO of luxury personal shopping app P.S. Dept., revealed to Bloomberg a way to speed along the process: "The key to getting [a Birkin] is to find someone who has a relationship with one of their associates, [which means they've] bought one in the past… You have to have a purchase history at the store to just get started, then they meet with you, assess how serious you are about spending, and then you go on their list."
The long waiting list is partly because of the incredible level of detail which goes into creating a Birkin bag - it is thought to take at least 48 hours to make by hand.
And even men have bags of style
What do you think of the lovely Pharrell Williams carrying his pink Hermes HAC?
And the rapper Drake has revealed that he's already stocking up on Hermès Birkin bags for ‘The One’, whoever she ends up being. He reveals that he has been collecting Birkin bags for years, a gift for "the woman I end up with."
Did you know?
- Victoria Beckham is rumoured to own around 100 Birkin bags, with a total value of 2.3 million dollars!
- The Kardashian/Jenner have all been scolded for using a Birkin as a gym bag.
- Hermes uses a wide range of leather including: Ostrich, lizard, crocodile, calf and alligator. Hermes is one of the largest owners of crocodile farms in Australia.
- The most popular colours for the Birkin include: Black, Gold, Hermes Orange (of course!), Etoupe (also known as taupe), Blue Jean and Rose Tyrien (bright pink).
- Over 20 shades of blue have been used over the years, ranging from blue-green to Mykonos.
- Its original size was 35cm, there is now variations including mini and travel sizes.
- A single Hermes artisan constructs a Birkin from start to finish. It takes 48 hours to complete one bag.
- Each artisan has their own set of tools to work with. They are then gifted these tools once they retire.
What are your thoughts?