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The Hermès Birkin Story

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What’s come to be one of the most highly coveted and recognized bags in the fashion industry, originally started from serendipitous beginnings. With waiting lists that have spanned up to six years and price tags that have crossed into the hundreds of thousands, it’s no question why the no logo Birkin bag has grown in popularity.

In 1981, singer and actress Jane Birkin had been upgraded by Air France on a flight from Paris to London. Jane was known for carrying around large straw bags to hold her possessions instead of the traditional purse. Just after placing her stuffed straw bag into the overhead compartment, all of her contents fell to the floor.

What soon commenced thereafter was a scramble to pick up the clutter followed by a familiar rant many of us have encountered. It was mere coincidence that she happened to be sitting next to Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas, who quickly picked up on Birkin’s apparent annoyance that it was difficult to find a nice weekend bag that was big enough and had pockets, larger than the Hermès Kelly and smaller than the Serge Gainsbourg suitcase. This fortuitous event created the impetus behind the birth of the first Hermès Birkin bag.

In 1984, Dumas created the spacious black leather bag based on another 1982 Hermès design for Birkin. The rest is history, as they say, with the Hermès Birkin becoming one of the most sought after iconic designer handbags in the world. One of the most expensive is the saltwater crocodile skin, with the lining most typically goatskin.

Every Hermès Birkin has been handmade in France by expert artisans who hand-sew, buff, paint, and polish each and every bag, taking several days to finish. Because of this, each Hermès Birkin is unique in its own way. They come in a range of sizes (25, 30, 35, 40, 50 and 55 centimeters), colors (pink, red, brown, baby blue, navy blue, olive green, orange, white, black, and golden tan) and materials (calf leather, ostrich, crocodile, and lizard), while still maintaining their signature rectangular shape with number-coded lockable flap closure with keys, buckle, and arm handles. The hardware is typically plated with a precious metal such as gold or palladium so it will not tarnish.

For these reasons, there’s no surprise why celebrities such as Rachel Zoe, Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Katie Holmes, Nicole Richie, Kate Moss, Alessandra Ambrosio, Rita Ora, and Eva Longoria have all been spotted with a birkin or two in hand. Not only can they hold your necessities together with style, but appreciate in value over time.