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Posts Tagged ‘Jane Berkin’

Image: Harper’s Bazaar.

I always wanted one. For me the Birkin bag was the ultimate luxury item, and I knew I would never get bored of it. I convinced myself that I really needed one and thought I would eventually pass it on to my daughter.

Suzanne Koller, Austrian born stylist and fashion director of M Le Magazine du Monde.

This is a quote from an article in Harper’s Bazaar, March 2021.

In 1984 fashion model and singer Jane Birkin was on a flight from Paris to London when her basket bag flopped over, spilling its contents on the floor. The gentleman sitting next to Ms. Birkin, Jean-Louis Dumas, at the time the executive chairman of Hermès, noticed and he and his seatmate had a chat about the difficulties of finding a handbag large enough to carry all that the busy model and mother needed on any given day. Mr. Dumas immediately started sketching and voila, the Birkin bag was born.

Hermès asked if they could name the bag after Ms. Birkin and she agreed. Apparently she receives an annual royalty for the use of her name and she donates that money to charity.

Made of sturdy leather, the Birkin is a constructed carryall bag in rectangular shape with a flap. Its simplicity and versatility is its signature.

It takes Hermès craftspeople 15 to 20 hours to make each Birkin bag and every bag is made by one person. Add the design process (the design has slightly altered over the years), cutting and dyeing the leather, and we’re talking two years from prototype to finished product. Some Birkins are custom made with particular leathers and hardware. It takes time but quality always does. And the Birkin gives back, in that it will stand the test of time in style and wear. It’s an investment piece meant not to sit in the closet but to use every day. Some people use it as their gym bag, others throw groceries into their Birkin.

The Berkin can cost upwards of $15,000 and there’s a waiting list. If you’re not a celebrity, it’s a long wait. But that’s all part of the Birkin mojo.

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